More than 16,000 commercial aircraft have been retired worldwide in the past 35 years, and more recently, some 700 aircraft per year are reaching the end of their operational lives.The trend is growing -over the next 10 years around 11,000 aircraft retirements are expected.  The COVID-19 crisis will undoubtably accelerate many of these retirements and several operators have already announced they are bringing forward fleet retirement programs. Aircraft decommissioning is becoming a key process and has to be properly managed to avoid environmental and safety risks.

What airlines need to know


Aircraft decommissioning has economic, operational, regulatory, safety and environment implications. On the other hand, around 90% of aircraft parts can be reused or recycled, and components reusable as spare parts are high value.

This means that if undertaken in a timely and appropriate manner, aircraft decommissioning can allow recovery of a good residual value from re-used parts and recycled material, whilst minimizing environmental and safety risks.

Best Industry Practices for Aircraft Decommissioning (BIPAD)


Most airlines and other aircraft owners (e.g. lessors) have limited experience in managing aircraft decommissioning as a controlled process. This is why IATA developed guidance with a , providing guidance on managing aircraft decommissioning in a safe, economic, and sustainable way whilst meeting all relevant regulations.

IATA’s Best Industry Practices for Aircraft Decommissioning (BIPAD) manual is aimed at aircraft owners and operators and is thus complementary to the AFRA Best Management Practices (BMP) designed for specialized aircraft dismantling and recycling companies.

The BIPAD manual covers all phases of the aircraft end-of-life process:

  • Decision to decommission an aircraft
  • Selection of facilities
  • Disassembly process
  • Dismantling process
  • Parts distribution and recertification



The 2-day Aircraft Decommissioning Training provides guidance on business processes, operational experiences and best practices in the industry, reinforced with exercises, discussions, and role play to equip you with the knowledge to optimize the residual value from aircraft decommissioning.

Professional expertise with IATA Consulting


Aircraft owners and operators increasingly realize that they can benefit from reusing or recycling aircraft parts. The timing of such decisions is important in ensuring that aircraft owners and operators can derive the best value from selling or recycling aircraft parts.

IATA Consulting can assist and guide airlines and aircraft owners in the process of retiring aircraft from service. With expertise in developing and implementing best industry practices, we are able to support aircraft owners throughout the entire cycle of aircraft decommissioning, including dismantling and recycling. This way, aircraft owners can fully leverage the residual value from re-used aircraft parts and recycled materials, whilst minimizing environmental and safety risks.

Find out more about our aircraft decommissioning consulting services.