Swiss International Air Lines made this announcement:
After more than 27 years of service with Swissair and SWISS, Airbus A321 HB-IOC, the oldest member of the SWISS fleet, has made its final flight. The aircraft, which was widely known as the ‘Olympic Plane’ in view of its IOC (International Olympic Committee) registration, was flown to Castellón in Spain, where it was subsequently dismantled. As part of this phase-out process, SWISS has also been trialling a pilot project to see how various parts and components can be re-used and recycled more sustainably in ecological and economic terms. So aviation fans and design enthusiasts can look forward to some very special souvenirs.
Airbus A321 HB-IOC, the oldest aircraft in the Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) fleet, has made its final flight. The twinjet, which bore the name ‘St. Moritz’ in its SWISS days, spent more than 27 years in the service of Swissair and SWISS, carrying over seven million passengers, performing some 47,000 takeoffs and landings and spending over 73,000 hours in revenue-earning service. The iconic aircraft was flown to Castellón in Spain a few months ago, where it was cannibalized and dismantled.
SWISS has been using the phase-out of HB-IOC as a pilot project to determine how it can re-use and recycle a withdrawn aircraft’s various parts in an even more sustainable way, in ecological and economic terms. Switzerland’s biggest airline will be using many of HB-IOC’s components as spares for the remaining active members of its Airbus A320 family fleet. Parts of the cabin interior will also have a further lease of life elsewhere in the Lufthansa Group – to upgrade its cabin simulators, for instance. And as part of SWISS’s integrated life cycle management, specialists from the company will be recycling further items that cannot be re-used to recover various materials, with a particular focus on aluminium and other high-value alloys. Aviation fans and design enthusiasts can also look forward to designer furniture items and other accessories from this autumn onwards, all made from parts of the legendary HB-IOC.
The ‘Olympic Plane’
The aircraft, built in 1995 and originally named “Neuchâtel” and later “Lausanne”, was fondly referred to by many employees as the “Old Lady”. Due to its HB-IOC registration, the Airbus was also referred to as the “Olympic Airplane” in reference to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and even wore special Olympic livery for a few years. SWISS has produced a memorable short film of Airbus A321 HB-IOC’s final flight and phase-out.
Airbus A321 HB-IOC, which was built in 1995, carried multiple names in the course of its Swissair and SWISS service. Originally named Neuchâtel, it was subsequently renamed Lausanne during its Swissair days, after the seat of the International Olympic Committee, in view of its ‘IOC’ registration. And in its SWISS years it bore the name St. Moritz, in honour of the famed Swiss alpine resort. To many at the company, though, she was always the ‘Old Lady’, the ‘Olympic Plane’, or just IOC.
This special member of the SWISS fleet made her final flight a few months ago. Why she meant so much to so many people, and what’s special about the whole aircraft phase-out process, you can find out in our video. So come with us on HB-IOC’s last flight. And learn, too, how we ensured that many of her components could be re-used as part of our SWISS integrated life cycle management.
HB-IOC used to wear the Olympic rings.
Continual fleet renewal
SWISS has one of Europe’s most advanced aircraft fleets, and invests continually in its renewal. Operating state-of-the-art aircraft is currently the most effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. And if the air transport sector is to achieve its carbon emission objectives, it must ensure that its older aircraft are replaced with new and more fuel-efficient successors. Two years ago, SWISS took delivery of the last aircraft in its order of 30 new Airbus A220s. Since then, the focus has been on adding the new Airbus A320neo and A321neo to the SWISS fleet. With their latest-generation engines, their aerodynamic enhancements and their noise-reducing components, these aircraft are both considerably quieter and more fuel-efficient than the transports they replace: the A320neo, for instance, consumes some 20 per cent less fuel than its A320ceo predecessor. And SWISS’s older A320s and A321s are being steadily replaced by the new ‘neo’ generation.
The HB-IOC was transferred to Castellón in Spain a few months ago and dismantled into her individual parts.
Integrated life cycle management
In addition to reducing its emissions, integrated life cycle management is a further vital element in SWISS’s corporate responsibilities. Which is where Airbus A321 HB-IOC comes into the story again. Because when it came to phase out its celebrity Olympic Plane, SWISS went even further in its constant endeavours to optimize its sustainability credentials. In fact, the phase-out of HB-IOC served as a pilot project to trial various actions that could make the company even more sustainable in dealing with the elements of a withdrawn aircraft, in both economic and ecological terms. As the phase-out of HB-IOC confirmed, SWISS is on the right track. And on the strength of this experience, the company has now established a new standard procedure under which, ahead of every such phase-out, it will first identify those components that can be used directly as spares for the remaining aircraft fleet. SWISS is also steadily building up an expertise in how various further parts of a withdrawn aircraft can be used to make designer furniture or other accessories that give it a new lease of life in a totally different guise. In the concrete case of HB-IOC, various parts of the cabin interior are being re-used within the Lufthansa Group – to upgrade its cabin simulators, for example.
Throughout these dismantling and recycling processes, SWISS makes a point of collaborating solely with partners that are correspondingly certificated for the work concerned. Non-reusable parts and components are recycled in full compliance with the company’s integrated life cycle management, with a particular emphasis on recovering aluminium and other high-value alloys.
Text: Diego Oppenheim und Anja BeelerPhotos: Reto Hoffmann
Top Copyright Photo: Swissair Airbus A321-111 HB-IOC (msn 520) (Official Airline of the IOC) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 926475.
Above Copyright Photo: Swiss International Air Lines Airbus A321-111 HB-IOC (msn 520) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 955340.
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