Sri Lanka poised to become aircraft recycling regional hub

Photo: WhaTech

Sri Lanka is looking ahead to become a significant regional hub for aircraft recycling, thanks to a new investment by Aitken Spence Ltd.

According to an article on Aviators Maldives, the company is set to commence operations at Hambantota as a joint venture with Zone 600, the Hong Kong-based company involved in recycling aircraft with initial plans underway to dismantle and re-export retired aircraft sent for recycling.

The Sunday Times’ Sunimalee Dias writes that with no other competitor in the region, the initiative will become a hub for the recycling of aircraft. Sri Lanka was specifically selected for the operations due to its economic viability and large land area available in Hambantotat, Dias adds.

The recycling hub will also be the first such ventures in this region while most other facilities are located in Europe, Australia, Japan, China, the US, and the Netherlands.

Full-scale recycling efforts are still not possible in Lanka.

However, under the initial phase, engines will be re-exported and the landing gears and other electronic parts will be shipped to the owners. Currently Aitken Spence is in talks with other parties to use the fuselage and other parts of the aircraft to be converted into hotels and restaurants, but are expected to take some time before this part of the operations become functional.

The pilot project of about one to one-and-a-half months will only involve dismantling of the aircraft and a 100% re-export effort of the dismantled aircraft.

The Aitken-Zone 600 JV will also look to expand its operations, with discussions currently underway for the melting of metal parts of the aircraft for other purposes – but would need to be carried out by other parties.

Re-exportation efforts are expected to run smoothly due to the close proximity of the recycling facility to the Hambantota Port.

At least three companies have agreed to send their aircraft to this facility for recycling that would be dismantled and re-exported.

Moreover, a Sri Lankan-run company based in Australia is expected to come down to the country to become the outsourced partner in dismantling the aircraft.

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