A new company is upcycling old airplane seats into luxury travel accessories, while airlines in Japan are transforming uniforms into handbags and one entrepreneur in Ivory Coast is turning them into restaurants and conference rooms.
Created by the British brothers Ben and Harry Tucker, Plane aims to create a new brand of what they call “luxury waste”. The pair rescue discarded aircraft fabric from landfills and turn them into a range of luxury upcycled luggage and accessories.
We are striving to find luxury in innovation and by doing so proving that beauty, indulgence and pleasure do not have to come at the expense of our desire to live sustainably.Tucker brothers
The fabric comes from retired planes operated by airlines found all over the world and is stripped by specialists, arriving to the company in giant bales. Unlike any other textile, this fabric has very specific particularities as the brothers estimate that, on average, each piece of fabric rescued has travelled 18 million miles, visited 62 countries at 575 miles per hour at 35,000 feet in the air.
Plane explains the textiles used in airplane material are ideal for tough and durable travel bags as they’re “lightweight, robust, flameproof and stain resistant”. The collection includes weekenders, messengers and rucksacks, along with laptop, tablet and phone accessories.
The Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) didn’t stay behind on sustainability efforts. ANA has used old staff uniforms to produce a range of bags. The airline’s mechanics and maintenance crew wear light blue overalls made from a strong and highly-durable fabric and complete with multiple pockets which seemed to be perfect for a bag.
The airline industry is under severe scrutiny over environmental issues. I suggested this because, as an employee, I want to deal with the problem head-on.Takahashi Hideya, maintenance worker
The ANA maintain crew consists of around 3,000 people and the airline previously disposed of around 300 pieces of workwear every year.
3. Restaurants and conference rooms
In Ivory Coast, the entrepreneur Aziz Alibhai has bought a collection of 11 old aeroplanes and is planning on turning them into social spaces.
I would like to turn them into conference rooms, a restaurant and, why not, luxury bedrooms. We can modify them easily, the cabins have insulation and with a little air conditioning it could work very well.Aziz Alibhai told Euronews
A typical plane flies for 25 years or so before it starts to wear out. However, when a plane is finally grounded, it doesn’t have to be the end of the line as these innovative ideas have proved.