GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. the largest low-cost and low-fare airline in Latin America, has developed its own program for managing aircraft maintenance waste at its operational bases. Currently, eight bases are using the program to treat and dispose of 100% of their waste and another 18 are in the advanced implementation phase. The Company is also carrying out studies into extending the program to all the airports where it operates.
“After having created our own liquid effluent and solid waste treatment program at our Maintenance Center in Confins (MG), which is a benchmark for the industry, we want to introduce similar procedures at the airports,” declared Alberto Correnti, GOL’s Head of Maintenance. The Maintenance Center is run along strict environmental standards whereby all the oil and other chemical effluents produced during the maintenance process are treated before being disposed of in a way that does not harm the environment.
For cleaning the inside of the aircraft, the Company uses industrial towels that are laundered by specialized firms in order to avoid any type of waste. Also, since 2003, GOL has been dry cleaning the outside of its aircraft, using only 10% of the amount of water normally used in this procedure.
In addition to being environmentally correct and in line with the Company’s own social and environmental responsibility policies, extending the waste management program to the bases will give GOL greater control over material consumption and use. In accordance with ANVISA (National Health Surveillance Agency) and CONAMA (National Environment Council), the methodology ensures that each type of waste generated during cleaning and maintenance procedures is disposed of in the most appropriate manner. In 2009, more than 14 tonnes of waste were treated prior to disposal, which represents 30% of the total (the other 70% are treated by third parties). In the near future, the Company aims to treat 100% of the waste generated during the procedures.
The Company has always been preoccupied with the treatment of aircraft maintenance waste, which was previously handled by airport management at each base. “The development of our own program, which is totally in line with environmental legislation and the industry’s best practices, is an important step forward for GOL”, declared Correnti. The measure anticipates waste management tendencies in the global aviation industry: “By centralizing the process within the Company, we have made this issue one more facet of our environmental management and sustainability policy”, he concluded.