Many high-quality aviation parts and uniforms would become landfill were it not for the limitless imagination of designers at airlines and second-life manufacturers.

For those considering an upcycling project, it’s important to keep in mind that repurposed materials require labor to sort, disassemble and remanufacture. The Aircraft Interior Recycling Association stands at the ready to assist.

But new goods still require an investment in hardware such as zippers, snaps, and other accessories. For this reason, some upcycled products are best suited to high-end markets, including fashion, where airlines can recover the cost of the added labor and materials.

Among the carriers being proactive about upcycling, Lufthansa recently converted its Airbus A340-600 D-AIHO into a unique collection of furnishings and travel gear, including backpacks made from blankets and toiletry bags lined with emergency cards, which are sold in the Lufthansa World Shop.

“We first took inspiration from the raw materials themselves,” explained Lufthansa corporate designer Joel Bertram. “And then, together with a number of different manufacturers that are experts in their fields, we looked and said: ‘How can we make just the rich tweaks to the product so that it’s in a really finished form?’” Read More