In an industry looking for good news, a significant development has occurred. North American Aerospace Industries (NAAI, Kinston, North Carolina, USA), a leading provider of sustainable end-to-end aircraft recycling, has merged with Aircraft Interior Recycling Association (AIRA, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom), a total aircraft interior support company. While the news is formidable for both organizations, it also offers new opportunities for airlines, aircraft owners and OEMs to generate new revenue streams, gain savings, reduce their carbon footprints, and help address critical social needs; all of which have become more important in today’s post-pandemic period.
According to Sven Daniel Koechler, PhD, President and CEO of NAAI, “AIRA is the only aircraft interior recycling company that has developed the scientific expertise and technical know-how to properly recycle end of life aircraft interiors and waste materials from manufacturing. Since our top priority is to provide sustainable aircraft recycling services through which 100% of an aircraft is recycled or up-cycled, gaining the ability to effectively address one of the most challenging aspects of an aircraft’s recycling – its composite plastic interior components – is a major achievement for us. We are very proud of our new alignment with AIRA. Together, we intend to revolutionize aircraft recycling, transforming it into an industry which delivers enormous benefit across the entire chain, from OEMs, MROs, airlines, and leasing companies to the general public and the environment.”
AIRA’s Managing Director Tony Seville stated, “This is two companies coming together with a mutual vision and solutions to the major challenges of recycling aircraft correctly, with all of its many different materials and with the environment foremost in mind. It has taken AIRA six years of research and hard work to develop cost effective recycling processes. We are very proud to be part of this merger with NAAI and now the real work can begin with airlines, lessors, MROs, OEMs and material manufacturers all working with us and making a huge difference to the aviation industry and the environment at the same time.”
Through their merged organizations, NAAI and AIRA will help its customers gain the maximum return on their aircraft investment by recycling interior components often neglected due to the complexities involved in identifying composite materials. With AIRA’s unmatched expertise in this area, the companies will be able to help their customers capitalize on these materials by returning them to the supply chain for use in producing other products. As Koechler sees it, the revenue opportunities can be enormous, but equally important, these materials can be put to good use to help provide clothing, housing and even manufacturing job opportunities for those in need across the world.
“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the aviation industry and many other industries, causing wide-scale job losses and leaving many people in severe economic distress,” added Koechler. “Even before the pandemic, many people across the world were living in poverty. Through more sustainable aircraft recycling practices, we can help them achieve a better quality of life and protect our environment by reducing aircraft waste in landfills and aircraft boneyards.”
NAAI is building one of the world’s largest hangar systems in North Carolina. The three-part hangar system will house a 357,00 square foot dismantling shop; 151,800 square foot MRO facility; and 102,000 square foot paint shop for narrow and wide body aircraft. Its proprietary processes will enable the company to recycle multiple aircrafts simultaneously for a much faster recycling process. The NAAI facilities will also encompass an 80,800 square foot space designated for storage and offices. The facility’s construction schedule was interrupted by the pandemic and subsequent business lockdowns in the United States, however, Koechler is projecting that the facility will be operational by late 2021.