Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association Accredits Two More Recyclers

Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association Accredits Two More Recyclers

Six companies around the world now hold AFRA’s aircraft recycling accreditation.


The Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA)  a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., has added two companies to its list of accredited aircraft recyclers, bringing the worldwide total to six companies worldwide. The accreditations are based upon the association’s third Best Management Practices Guide dealing with recycling aircraft materials, released April 2012.

The two most recently accredited companies are Aircraft Demolition, based in Burnsville, Minn., and Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions, or AELS, based in the Netherlands. These firms join four other AFRA accredited recyclers, two of which are based in the U.K., and one each in South Africa and the U.S.

“We had thought that our activities were already at the standards in the BMP Guide but we found out that some of our practices and procedures could in fact be improved,” says Derk Jan van Heerdan, general manager of AELS. “The Accreditation process not only covered the third-party recycling of fan blades which we carry out for a client, it also covered all the recycling of airframes which we carry out, which is a key part of our business.”

Tim Zemanovic, CEO of Aircraft Demolition, says the accreditations have helped the company improve its business model. “More and more companies are requiring the accreditations in order to do business with them and this has certainly opened new opportunities for us,” Zemanovic says.

AFRA’s mission is the sustainable management of end-of-life airplanes and engines. The organization was founded in 2005 by 11 organizations from various sectors of the aircraft industry, including Boeing Commercial Aircraft, Europe Aviation and Rolls Royce. The association now comprises 71 members in 11 countries.

AFRA currently offers two accreditations: one for disassembly of aircraft and another for materials recycling. The organization also has published three Best Management Practice Guides offering detailed direction on the best environmental practices and technological solutions for the disassembling and recycling of aircraft, aircraft engines and aircraft materials. About 30 companies worldwide are currently AFRA-accredited disassemblers of aircraft.

AFRA says the guides provide practical solutions for those working in the field of aircraft parts and materials recycling, and the accompanying AFRA audit and accreditation program assures that facilities operate in a safe and environmentally responsible manner while allowing businesses to find sustainable solutions.

According to AFRA, between 12,000 and 15,000 aircraft will reach their end of life in the next 20 years. The organization says its members recycle more than 150 airplanes a year. Additionally, members recycle more than 30,000 tons of aircraft aluminum each year, and 600 tons of used aircraft parts a year are returned to service.

The association maintains that while the market for aircraft parts may be around $2 billion, it is likely that greater financial value can be extracted from end-of-life activity.