Emirates airline is to release a line of limited-edition luggage and accessories made of materials from retrofitted aircraft.
The collection features suitcases, backpacks, handbags, cardholders, toiletry bags, belts and shoes, designed and made by Emirates's tailors in a cabin workshop at Emirates Engineering Centre in Dubai.
Each piece will be handmade to order and customers will be able to request personalised laser engraving on some one-of-a-kind bags, suitcases or document holders.
The items will be on sale from next year in Emirates Official Stores and all proceeds will be donated to disadvantaged children through the Emirates Airline Foundation.
Customers can register their interest soon on the Emirates Store website and a selection of bags and accessories will also go on display at the Dubai Airshow in Dubai World Central from next Monday to Friday.
The materials used to craft the collection were taken from the Emirates A380, as well as the 777 aircraft.
In August last year, Emirates undertook a fleet retrofit project to update the interior cabins of 120 of its Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s. Once the 67 A380s are back in service, 53 777s will then be retrofitted. The whole project is expected to take a minimum of two years to complete.
Aluminium headrests, leather from couches in the A380 onboard lounge and even fur from the captain's seat have been used in the collection.
From 16 retrofitted aircraft, more than 14,000 kilograms of materials have been recovered so far and Emirates says it can continue to get up to 270kg of leather and 627kg of seat fabric per plane.
All fabrics are laundered in a facility, then deep cleaned by hand and thoroughly disinfected before being sewed. New lining is being added to the bags, as well as functional zippers.
Emirates has a team of 14 tailors – who have the official title of engineering maintenance assistants – whose roles involve fixing and stitching any tears in the aircraft interiors. Four of these personnel are currently working full-time on this new upcycling initiative.
“We knew these materials could be given a second life, because they are originally of very high quality,” said Ahmed Safa, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president for engineering. “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.
“This initiative is a passion project for our team, and we are immensely proud of how it aligns with both our innovation and sustainability aims, and even better – that all proceeds will benefit worthy causes.”
The airline has been serious about its sustainability efforts over recent years and has pledged US$200 million to research and develop more eco-friendly ways of flying long haul.
The airline's environmental efforts are primarily focused on three areas: Reducing emissions, consuming responsibly and preserving wildlife and habitats.
Last month, the airline launched new wildlife-themed amenity kits as part of a partnership with United for Wildlife to highlight eight of the planet's most endangered species.
These kits are being handed out to long-haul passengers travelling in premium economy and economy cabins.
Emirates' first flight powered by a sustainable aviation fuel blend also took off from Dubai International Airport last month under a supply agreement with Shell Aviation, as part of the airline's efforts to decarbonise travel.
Under the agreement announced in October, Shell Aviation supplied 315,000 gallons of blended SAF for the airline's use at its Dubai hub.
This first supply of the fuel to Emirates has allowed the airline to power several flights over the past few weeks.