Emirates to ‘recycle’ its very first A380


Emirates Airline plans to recycle the first Airbus A380 to join its fleet at a facility in the United Arab Emirates, “significantly reducing the environmental impact of the deconstruction process and significantly reducing landfill waste,” according to the airline.

A contract with Fujairah-based Falcon Aircraft Recycling will allow extensive material recovery and repurposing activities entirely in the United Arab Emirates with the aim of minimizing the project’s environmental footprint.

“More and more retired planes are being flown to remote locations and left abandoned after being stripped of parts,” the airline said. “Traditional recovery and recycling projects focus on recovering only cost-effective components, thus leaving behind a significant portion of aircraft and materials that go to landfills or remain unused indefinitely … In addition, many aircraft items can be difficult to recycle or dispose of, for example, flame retardant fabrics and composite materials.

Emirates took delivery of the aircraft, registration A6-EDA, from the Airbus facilities in Hamburg in July 2008; The A380 carried out its last mission on March 8, 2020, before being designated for delisting.

Falcon will design and manufacture “unique collectibles and retail items” from the materials and parts removed from the aircraft.

Emirates has already withdrawn a handful of other A380s from its fleet of 117 A380s and plans to take delivery of its last A380 before the end of the year.

Emirates last year withdrew the A6-EDB, sending it to Tarbes Airport in southern France for decommissioning. In 2019, it removed two A380s – A6-EEH and A6-EEK – from the fleet for spare parts, including landing gear, engines and flight control components. The fact that both planes had entered the fleet new only six to seven years earlier meant that the equipment they had been cannibalized for was in good condition.

The bar on board the plane will likely present a target for souvenir collectors, and a portion of the proceeds from souvenir sales will go to the airline’s global charity for underprivileged children.

“The fact that all reassignment activities are fully executed in the United Arab Emirates… is a testament to the strong aviation ecosystem and capabilities that the nation has developed over its short history,” said the President of Emirates Airline, Tim Clark. “Through this initiative, our customers and fans can take home a piece of aviation history while saving valuable materials from landfills and contributing to a charitable cause through the Emirates Airline Foundation. It’s a stylish and tailored retirement solution for this iconic aircraft and our flagship.


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