Recycle venture creates unique UK aviation service

An aircraft dismantling and recycling facility launched in Norwich by JKLM UK Engineering has created an aviation industry "cradle-to-cradle" service unique in the UK.

KLM UK Engineering Sales Director Dave Spalding said it was an exciting development for the company. It is now licensed to service aircraft from the day they are brought into use to the day, potentially 20 years and perhaps 18 million air miles later, they are removed from service.

“We have customers queuing up and we have already got four aircraft on site for disposal,” said Mr Spalding. “Globally, the aviation industry has 12,000 aircraft which will need to be scrapped in the next 20 years, so there is huge potential for us.”

Components which are still licensed as serviceable will be recovered and reconditioned by KLM UK Engineering’s team of highly-skilled aircraft engineers and stored for reuse or for sale. Fuel and other pollutants will be drained and carefully disposed of, while aluminium bodywork will be cut up and recycled.

“It is sometimes difficult for owners to decide what to do with aircraft when the lease comes to an end,” said Mr Spalding. “KLM UK Engineering can now offer lease companies a complete range of options – from a total overhaul which will keep aircraft flying to dismantling them and recovering the recycle value of components and materials.”

This week’s launch provides KLM UK Engineering at Norwich Airport with the only aircraft recycling facility of its type in East Anglia and one of only a handful in the United Kingdom. It has the full support of parent company Air France-KLM, one of the world’s largest airlines, which is pleased it can bring some of its own decommissioning work to Norwich.

“There is no-one else in the UK who can provide such a range of services under their own approval,” said Mr Spalding. “It is an exciting day for us after many, many months of planning. It means we can now give aircraft operators a lifelong servicing solution.”

Up to a dozen end-of-life aircraft will be broken up at Norwich over the next 12 months, creating 10 new jobs. In the following year, KLM UK Engineering plans to double the number of aircraft flown in for dismantling, possibly expanding its workforce still further. Full planning permission was granted by Norfolk County Council in September.

Picture Caption. KLM UK Engineering managing director Paul Chün (right) and finance director Pete Mahoney (centre) with Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs at the launch of the new aircraft dismantling facility At Norwich Airport.

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