Second life for aircraft components

Environmental Operations

Innovative recycling project: Lufthansa Technik combines technology and ecology and creates value through the careful use of resources

Valuable components from aircraft which have been taken out of service in the Lufthansa Group get the chance of a "second life". Through the sensible further use of valuable resources, the project with the name "2nd Life" is an innovative example of economic and ecological sustainability. Only recently, the 25th Lufthansa aircraft arrived for professional dismantling at Lufthansa Technik Component Services (LTCS), a subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For the first time a Boeing 747-400 is now being dismantled and the most varied components prepared for reutilization. 

In spring 2012 the company, whose core business is the maintenance of aircraft components, had already begun to supply components of aircraft taken from long-serving aircraft from the Lufthansa fleet, for new purposes. Up to now, above all, aircraft of the Boeing 737 type were dismantled. This service, in the truest sense of the word, really "gets down to the bone". After the last landing of the aircraft in Tulsa, in around two weeks, the employees of LTCS remove everything from the aircraft that can be recycled or is valuable, including undercarriages, jet engine components, flight computers, lights, cockpit instruments, and the complete electronic systems. After their removal, these parts are stringently tested in Lufthansa Technik's workshops in the USA and Germany with respect to their functionality and, if necessary, repaired. Afterwards they are recertified and returned to the Lufthansa Technik pool.

The advantage for Lufthansa Technik customers: components whose procurement usually takes several months can be made available at short notice. The airline companies obtain the tailor-made replacement material on favourable terms. The advantage for the environment: tons of precious materials are recycled for further use.

The hollowed-out aircraft are handed over to a recycling company. There even during the scrapping process, reusable raw materials like aluminium are recovered.