Monday, December 11, 2023

Emirates Is Upcycling Airplanes Into Luggage


Dubai-based airline Emirates has announced its foray into sustainable fashion with a capsule collection that embodies the airline’s innovative and eco-conscious spirit. This collection, crafted from the upcycled components of refurbished aircraft, represents a tangible commitment to responsible consumption.

The new Emirates collection, slated for release in 2024, will be available in Emirates Official Stores, with all proceeds set to support children in need through the Emirates Airline Foundation. An assortment of these unique items will also be showcased at the upcoming Dubai Airshow from November 13-17.

Derived from the Emirates A380 and 777 aircraft, including aluminum headrests, leather from onboard lounge couches, seatbelts, and materials from the Captain’s seat have found new life in this collection. The initiative has already repurposed over 14,000 kilograms of material from 16 aircraft and anticipates further recovery of materials with each aircraft retrofit.

“At Emirates, we are committed to constantly evolving our sustainability efforts, and looking at every aspect of our products and supply chain,” Ahmed Safa, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President for Engineering, said in a statement. “We knew these materials could be given a second life, because they are originally of very high quality. We challenged our team to be as creative and innovative as possible, and here we are, with our own accessories workshop in Emirates Engineering Centre.”

According to Safa, this initiative is a passion project, and, he says, the team is immensely proud of how it aligns with “both our innovation and sustainability aims, and even better — that all proceeds will benefit worthy causes via the Emirates Airline Foundation.”

Emirates new luggage
Emirates new luggage is made from refurbished plane parts | Courtesy

The project is brought to life by Emirates’ team of 14 Engineering Maintenance Assistants, dubbed “tailors,” who usually maintain the pristine condition of Emirates’ fleet interiors. However, four have now been assigned to focus solely on this upcycling project, turning retired luxury into fashionable statements.

The endeavor is part of Emirates’ broader Retrofit Project, which launched in August 2022 as the largest fleet retrofit to date, embodying a multi-billion-dollar pledge to enhance the in-flight experience. More than two years, 120 of its A380 and 777 aircraft will see their interiors completely transformed. This massive effort, managed by the Emirates Engineering team, will culminate in the installation of 4,000 new Premium Economy seats, the refurbishment of 728 First Class suites, and the upgrade of over 5,000 Business Class seats.

The announcement bolsters Emirates’ sustainability commitments. It recently debuted its first SAF flight going from Dubai to Sydney.

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