Here Is Where Airplanes Go When They Are Too Old To Fly Anymore

What happens when airplanes are deemed too old to fly? Some classics and warbirds may find themselves in museums or private collections. But, what about the planes that don’t? Many old aircrafts make their final flights to either an airplane boneyard to sit and rust into obscurity or to a more eco friendly disassembly specialist like Air Salvage International to be taken apart for usable scrap parts or disposed of in a landfill.

Mark Gregory, ASI’s founder and CEO said, “they’re fully airworthy when they arrive and sometimes look like they’re about to go on another trip with a load of holiday-makers on board. It can be quite sad.”

Every year ASI takes apart aircraft ranging from smaller Cessna Citations and Learjets to commercial sized aircraft like Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s/747s. During the deconstruction process, you never know what you may find in these retired aircraft. In 2010 ASI engineers found $4 million worth of cocaine hidden in an airplane bathroom! You can barely fit a person in an airplane bathroom!

With many landfills overflowing, recyclability is a major issue when it comes to these massive jetliners. Often times the plane’s parts and frames can be recycled in some way. Also, many of an airplane’s parts are able to be salvaged, sold, or repurposed.

An aircraft’s engine, avionics, air conditioning, brakes etc. maybe all be fully functioning. They can then be cannibalized from the retired plane and put into younger planes still deemed airworthy.

ASI  has also sold some aircraft sections to flight schools and major players in the entertainment industry for movies like, “World War Z,” and “Johnny English,” as well as “Batman” and “Star Wars” franchises.

Want to take a piece of a plane home? Many airplane parts and seats find themselves repurposed into home or office furniture and decoration. Of course if you don’t want to leave home without your piece of a plane, you can even find airplane seat belts repurposed into actual fashion belts! Even with airplane parts we can work to recycle, reduce, reuse and close the loop.