Emirates first A380 to be recycled

November 02, 2021

Emirates is to recycle its first A380 and has signed a contract with UAE-based Falcon Aircraft Recycling on a pioneering initiative, where the giant jet will be upcycled and recycled, dramatically reducing the environmental impact of the deconstruction process and significantly reducing landfill waste.

The extensive materials recovery and repurposing activities will be entirely conducted in the UAE, the airline’s home base, further reducing the project’s environmental footprint.

Typically retired aircraft are flown to remote locations and left to languish after being stripped for parts with salvage and recycling projects focus on recovering only profitable components.

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Thus most of the aircraft goes into landfill or sit idle indefinitely for years.

Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates said that the airline is “delighted to partner with Falcon Aircraft Recycling on this first-of-its-kind project.

“Through this initiative, our customers and fans can take home a piece of aviation history while saving valuable materials from landfill and contributing to a charitable cause through the Emirates Airline Foundation. It’s an elegant and fitting retirement solution for this iconic aircraft and our flagship.”

Tim Clark
Sir Tim Clark talks to the media on board A6-EDA on its first flight to New York in 2008. Credit Geoffrey Thomas

Andrew Tonks, director of Falcon Aircraft Recycling said the A380 is the “most ambitious project to date which will see the first deconstruction of an A380 outside of Europe.

“Approximately 190 tonnes of various metals, plastics, carbon fiber composites and other materials will be removed from the aircraft and passed on for recycling or repurposing via our upcycling program with Wings Craft.

“The recovery program will be delivered fully within the UAE and ensure that the majority of the aircraft will find a second life.”

After completing its last commercial mission, A6-EDA, the first A380 ever delivered to Emirates, was retired from service and brought to the airline’s Engineering Centre where Emirates engineers retrieved serviceable components such as engines, landing gears, and flight control components.

Partnering with Wings Craft, another UAE-based firm that specializes in producing custom furniture and merchandise from aircraft materials, Falcon Aircraft Recycling will design and manufacture unique collectibles and retail items from the materials and parts removed from the aircraft.

A portion of profits from the sale of all items upcycled and recycled from Emirates’ first retired A380 will benefit the Emirates Airline Foundation.

A6-EDA was delivered from Airbus’ Hamburg facility on July 28, 2008, and its first commercial flight was from Dubai to New York on August 1st that year.

Its last flight was from Singapore to Dubai on March 8 last year bringing its total number of flights to 6,319.

In its flying life, it visited 62 airports.