Finnair to dismantle A319 at Helsinki Airport

The narrowbody flew for the airline from October 1999 until it was withdrawn from use in September last year

For the first time on home soil, Finnair is expected to take apart and recycle an Airbus A319 which has reached the end of its service life. 

The jet, OH-LVB (c/n 1107) will be dismantled at the airline’s base at Helsinki Airport where mechanics will remove parts that can be used elsewhere in the firm’s fleet. 

Finnair currently holds an active fleet of six Airbus A319s. Finnair

“This is the first time that a Finnair aircraft is dismantled and recycled in Finland. We made the decision to take the plane apart at our home hub to optimise sustainability and economics”, says Juha Ojala, vice president of Finnair’s technical operations. “This project allows us to improve the cost-efficiency of maintenance operations and employ our mechanics during the pandemic when their normal workload has decreased.” 

Prior to this, the operator’s jets were recycled elsewhere in Europe by third party companies. Victor Bravo has reached its end of service cycle limit and is aged just over 21 years. 

The work is being carried out in-house for the first time. Finnair

The recyclability of the aircraft and its parts is considered already at the design phase. As much as 98% of a new aircraft can be reused and recycled. With older aircraft, like the A319, about 90% can be reused. 

“Many parts of the plane that will be dismantled – like landing gear, engines, the auxiliary power unit and avionics – can be utilised in Finnair’s maintenance operations, which supports both sustainability as well as cost efficiency,” Ojala explains. “The parts that will be reused will be carefully inspected and overhauled. Smaller elements, like seat covers or cabin curtains, can also be reused.” 

The shift to dismantling on home soil forms part of the airline’s Blue Wings project which is targeting increased sustainability goals. 

Of the 19 on order with Airbus, Finnair currently holds a fleet of 16 A350s. Aviation Image Network/Baoluo

Meanwhile, the flag carrier has entered into a lease financing agreement for its next A350 delivery. Irish lessor JLPS Holding Ireland is expected to be assigned the purchase of the widebody and will then lease it back to Finnair for its own operation. 

The positive cash benefit for the Helsinki-based carrier for the financial year 2021-22 is in excess of $100m compared to a situation in which the aircraft had been purchased and owned by Finnair. 

Finnair has ordered a total of 19 new A350-900 XWBs, of which 16 have been delivered. The aircraft concerned will be the 17th. The remaining two examples are expected to be handed over in the fourth quarter of 2024 and the first quarter of 2025.