Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association

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The Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association is an international non-profit association bringing together different sectors of the aircraft industry. Its stated aim is to promote environmental best practice, regulatory excellence and sustainable developments in the fields of aircraft disassembly, as well as the salvaging and recycling aircraft parts and materials.

Aircraft recycling[edit]

About 12,500 aircraft will reach their end-of-life in the next 20 years.[1] The disposal of these aircraft is a major problem, which is why many companies have launched environmental programmes to address it. AFRA, with companies from Africa, Europe, and North America, means to provide an international perspective to assist the industry with the legal, regulatory and technical issues of aircraft recycling, promoting greater cooperation among governments and industries.

Of the 400 to 450 aircraft that are scrapped and disassembled globally each year, around one third of these aircraft are parted out and disassembled by AFRA member companies, producing upwards of 30,000 tons of aluminium and 1,800 tons of other specialty alloy metals for recycling, each year. All in all, AFRA members have dismantled more than 9,000 aircraft, with 7,000 from the commercial sector and 2,000 from the military.

It has been calculated that the market for aircraft parts is approximately $2 billion, but it is AFRA's belief that even greater financial value can be extracted from end-of-life activity.

History[edit]

AFRA was founded in 2005, when 11 companies agreed to join forces to develop an industry code of conduct and industry-developed recommended best practice in the areas of aircraft dismantling and materials recycling. The group's aim was to drive and motivate industry towards solutions for the safe and environmentally most responsible way of managing end-of-life aircraft.

The original 11 members were Air Salvage International, Adherent Technologies, Bartin Group, The Boeing Company, Chateauroux Air Centre, Europe Aviation, Huron Valley Fritz, Milled Carbon, Rolls-Royce and WINGNet.

Membership[edit]

AFRA members are global leaders in the management of aging aircraft fleets. They include Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Aircraft Disassemblers, Parts Distributors, Aircraft Insurers and Appraisers, Materials Recyclers and Technology Developers. Within its ranks AFRA also counts technology companies, and retains strong links with the academic community in relation to researching and developing new recycling technologies. AFRA has grown from its founding 11 members to now encompass 40 members from 10 countries.

Mission[edit]

The organisation's mission is the sustainable management of end-of-life airframes and engines. AFRA promotes and publishes the collective experience of its members to improve best practice in the management of end of life aircraft. AFRA also encourages greater collaboration between organisations and companies that have a track record in the environmentally responsible management of end-of-life aircraft.

AFRA develops partnerships and industry collaborations to create and enhance innovative technologies meant to improve environmentally sustainable practices in managing end-of-life aircraft. The organisation is also developing technology that they believe can increase the economic value of aircraft assets. The safe handling and disposal of materials that cannot be recycled is a key priority of AFRA, as well as returning reclaimed metals and composite materials back into commercial and aircraft manufacturing. AFRA members ultimately target a 95% recyclability rate.[2]

Accreditation[edit]

AFRA accreditation is meant to inform the aviation industry, customers and potential customers that best management practice and environmental responsibility is at the heart of a company’s processes and practices.

Since its foundation, 12 AFRA members have achieved AFRA accreditation: Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions (AELS), Air Salvage International, Bonus Tech, Europe Aviation, Evergreen Trade, Orange Aero, P3 Aviation, Southern California Aviation and Volvo Aero Services. A number of other organisations are currently in the process of being accredited. AFRA members increasingly report on the economic added value of AFRA accreditation, with asset owners actively seeking out AFRA accredited members for contracts.

Best Management Practice (BMP)[edit]

The AFRA Best Management Practice Guides offer detailed direction on best environmental practice and technological solutions for the disassembling of aircraft airframes and engines.

The AFRA BMP guide is an up-to-date collection of recommendations concerning best practices for the management of parts removed from aircraft during disassembly. The BMP Guide, now in its version 2.0, enhances safety developments throughout the supply chain by encouraging aircraft disassemblers or asset owners to proactively discover whether an aircraft or aircraft part has been involved in an airworthiness event involving unusual heat, stress or abnormal environmental conditions.

Version 1.0 of the BMP Guide was published in 2008, and has become a reference document for those involved in airframe dismantling and recycling. Version 2.0 of the BMP Guide, published in 2009, has an additional focus on engine dismantling. It offers up-to-date recommendations on best practices for the management of engine parts removed from aircraft during disassembly.

AFRA’s Best Management Practice Guide Version 2.0 also gives a new and clear definition of an ‘airworthiness event’, setting out the circumstances under which the industry feels it is appropriate to convey information about the history of parts.

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