Sustainable aircraft recycling by AELS

What happens to an aircraft when they are written off and no longer used in aviation? This is a question that not many people will think about, but it is crucial for the circular economy. Aircrafts are huge and contain many different parts and materials. AELS wants to reuse and recycle these parts and materials as much as possible.

In short

  • AELS dismantles written-off aircrafts from all over the world at Twente Airport. The company ensures that the parts and materials can be reused as much as possible.
  • AELS and Riwald Recycling from Almelo, which can turn the special aluminium used in aircrafts into raw material for new metals, started a long-term cooperation.

Global Goal

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Not all parts of an aircraft that can no longer be used in aviation are faulty. AELS (Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions) specialises in reusing and recycling aircraft components, and their aim is having a fully circular way of recycling commercial aircrafts.


AELS dismantles aircrafts that are flown to Twente Airport in Enschede from all over the world. The planes are dismantled, and useable parts are removed. These parts will then get a new life in different aircrafts. Examples are the computers in the cockpit, the landing gear and other mechanical parts. AELS professionally disassembles and recertifies these parts to be sold and used again safely in the aviation industry.


There are always some materials left when all usable parts have been removed from the aircraft. AELS wants to process all aircrafts in the most circular way possible. Most of the remaining material is the aluminium fuselage. AELS started collaborating with Riwald to put these materials to good use. Riwald specialises in metal recycling, and this collaboration ensures that the special aluminium alloys of the aircraft are recycled. 


The cooperation between AELS and Riwald is remarkable because of the innovative way of recycling aluminium. “This metal has a different alloy than regular aluminium. Riwald can recycle this material so that it becomes a raw material for new aluminium”, says Coen Teeuw, Recycling Manager at AELS. This way of recycling fits in with AELS’s objective of reusing and recycling all aircrafts in a fully circular way.


AELS and Riwald have already worked together on several occasions for recycling the materials of commercial aircrafts circularly.

Date: 5 February 2021 |

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