AELS joins SUSTAINair project

The SUSTAINair consortium is glad to announce that AELS (Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions) has joined the project as a partner. This Dutch SME is specialized in the disassembly and dismantling of aircraft, with a total of more than 100 aircraft on its record. With its expertise, AELS will make a crucial contribution to SUSTAINair’s approach to the end-of-life phase of the aircraft life cycle.

Industrial circular aviation leader

AELS offers a complete end-of-life solution for commercial aircraft: from purchase to sale of the last usable component. Aircraft are dismantled to the last screw and all materials that do not return to operational aircraft are recycled.

As a result, this company, which is based at Twente Airport in Enschede, the Netherlands, is making a significant contribution to the circular economy. For over 15 years, AELS has been growing in a unique niche of the aviation industry and are known as a leading and sustainable player in the aftermarket for aircraft parts.

AELS is very active in the circular economy, recycling many aircraft parts from aviation giants such as KLM, TAP, SAS and British Airways. From finding the right part to delivery, AELS covers all end-of-life needs for commercial aircraft. 

History of AELS

What happens when an aircraft is no longer flying? Derk-Jan van Heerden, an aerospace engineering student, was determined to find out. In 2005, he wrote his Master thesis on this subject at the Technical University of Delft. 

In 2006, Derk-Jan started AELS, which is short for Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions. Today, Derk-Jan van Heerden is the CEO of AELS, and leads a team of over 30 specialists, creatives, experts and professional aerospace engineers.


In SUSTAINair, AELS will provide expertise from the working floor and materials from aircraft for the tests done by the consortium. Next to that, AELS will further investigate the supply chain from scrapping the aircraft up to the aluminium melters. What can be done smarter? 

Derk-Jan van Heerden, CEO and founder of AELS, on joining the SUSTAINair project:

We are pleased to become partner in SUSTAINair. We feel we are a perfect fit as the goals of this consortium are the same as ours, making aviation more sustainable. A lot of my time goes into running a business. By being part of this group, I can spend time with researchers. A community I like a lot, but haven’t been around for a while. Talking and discussing about a subject so close to my heart gives me energy to make that extra step.”

AELS CEO and founder Derk-Jan van Heerden
Derk-Jan van Heerden, CEO and founder of AELS © 2022 AELS