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AFRA mulls global aircraft recycling initiative

A project aimed at finding a way of recycling materials from scrapped aircraft on a worldwide scale is being considered by members of the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA).

Abandoned aircraft are often left to deteriorate in certain parts of the world because of a shortage of aircraft recycling facilities.

AFRA executive director Martin Fraissignes - who is also general manager of the Chateauroux Air Centre in France, which dismantles and recycles scrapped airliners - says these abandoned aircraft are "feeding parts to the black market and polluting".

To address this problem, AFRA is "working on a project to launch on a worldwide basis", details of which are not yet ready to be disclosed, says Fraissignes.

At this early stage the project is "just an idea", but Fraissignes is hopeful that if enough political support can be generated, as well as support from organisations such as the International Air Transport Association, an initiative could be launched "in the next two years".

AFRA said earlier this year that its goal is for 90% of materials salvaged from scrapped aircraft to be recycled by 2016. On average, about 70% of an aircraft can be recycled, with materials used in the interiors presenting the biggest challenge towards meeting this target.

AFRA, which was launched in 2006 and has 47 members, also hopes to reduce the amount of aircraft manufacturing waste destined for landfill by 25% by 2012.