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Where are old aircraft laid to rest?

Cathay’s aircraft are reused instead!
At Cathay blanket has been sourced in environmentally friendly ways.

The aircrafts that carry our people and customers safely across the world hold a special place in our hearts and when the time comes to retire them, we make sure they are put to good use and not just put out to pasture.

Part of our sustainability drive is to make use of technology to increase efficiency. When technology and efficiency combine to produce better, modern aircraft, we have to say goodbye to some of our older, less efficient models. In 2017 we took delivery of 12 new A350-900 aircraft and retired nine older models.

It may surprise you how many parts of old aircraft can be used again – up to 90% of their components can be recycled, reused, or recovered. We have started working with partners in the aviation industry and other companies specialising in end-of-life solutions to do this since 2015. The retired aircraft are taken to a warehouse in France where they are decommissioned, disassembled, and dismantled. When the engine and other pieces of equipment are removed, many of the parts can be cleaned and reused. Less than 10% of the aircraft ends up as waste in the landfill and all hazardous materials are sent to specialised waste handlers for expert disposal.

The old aircrafts engines, auxiliary power unit, landing gear and movable parts can be reused. Most of the aircraft is made out of aluminium, a highly durable and infinitely recyclable material. This can be melted down and sold to other industries – helping reduce energy demand for creating new metals.

As engineers build better aircraft they build more recyclable aircraft – our new Boeing 747-8F freighters and Airbus A350 aircraft are designed to ensure 90 to 95% of their materials and components can be reused at the end of their useful service lives.

It’s not “goodbye”, it’s “see you later”!