Beyond flight operations: Assessing the environmental impact of aircraft maintenance through life cycle assessment

Antonia Rahn*, Melissa Schuch, Kai Wicke, Benjamin Sprecher, Clemens Dransfeld, Gerko Wende

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

As the aviation industry strives to minimise its environmental footprint, understanding the full life cycle impacts, including maintenance, becomes essential for sustainable development. This paper addresses the critical research gap in the environmental assessment of aircraft maintenance by conducting a comprehensive life cycle assessment based on an Airbus A320 aircraft. By combining a top-down check-level analysis and a detailed examination of the aircraft manufacturer's maintenance planning document, this study provides significant insights into the environmental implications of maintenance activities. The check-level analysis provides a general overview, while the analysis of the maintenance planning document delves into individual tasks, enabling the identification of components with the highest ecological impacts. This research emphasises the importance of including aircraft maintenance activities in life cycle assessment studies and provides valuable guidance for researchers, industry practitioners, and policy makers in prioritising sustainability measures and enhancing the environmental performance of aircraft throughout their life cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number142195
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume453
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Aircraft maintenance
  • Aviation
  • Life cycle assessment

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