bordbar GmbH Köln - Aviationtags - Upcycling

Aviationtags – the story of an old aircraft shell that has been given a new lease of life

Esther Nestle
4 minutes

Discarded. Declared no longer airworthy. Dumped ice-cold “in ground pension”. Maintenance too expensive, kerosene consumption too high, safety no longer 100 percent guaranteed. There are many reasons why airplanes are taken out of service. What next? What to do with an aircraft that can no longer fulfill its original purpose? Parked somewhere and left to rot? Far from it! One – as we think – especially nice idea we present to you here. The magic word is “upcycling”.

***Marked as advertising due to unpaid product mentioning***

Bordbar - Aviationtag - Upcycling

Upcycling means making money with recycling.

Where do discarded planes end up? About 600 commercial aircraft are “grounded” every year, and the trend is rising (*). Sometimes they end up in an aircraft graveyard. Most of the time, however, they are cannibalized – or recycled, which sounds less crude.

No matter what you call it, the fact is that a retired plane is full of lucrative raw materials. In the best case scenario, the entire plane is dismantled and sent to a new destination piece by piece. Because good money can be earned by acting sustainably. This creates the perfect win-win situation: for recycling companies and for the environment!

(*) Source: AFRA Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association

Turn 1 into 35,000 = sustainability at its best

You take a plane that’s been taken off the line. Like the A340-600 recently taken out of service by Lufthansa, length 75 metres, wingspan 63 metres. For the better imagination of those who are not so at home at airports: An average single-family home is about ten meters high. When it made its maiden flight in 1991, the A340-600 was the longest passenger aircraft in the world, with the equivalent of seven and a half single-family homes rotated by 90 degrees and lined up side by side.

You cut out the covers of the colossus, which was moved to its old part, dismantled the complete interior into its individual parts and ships everything to the company bordbar design GmbH in Cologne.

Today we are looking in particular at the shell, at the old aircraft skin, whose 250 square metres of aluminium underwent an upcycling process at bordbar; they were, so to speak, shedding their skin to meet their new purpose.

At the end of the day, 35,000 key and luggage tags left the production facility – hip, nostalgic, sustainable, each piece unique. From a huge block of scrap metal, many small aviationtags with cult character grew up. 35,000 pieces of tangible aviation history are now looking forward to their new destiny – where in the world was the A340-600 probably flying? And every piece is unique.

In the video you can see how a large aircraft becomes many small aviationtags:

You think the idea of aviationtags is as great as we do? Click here to go to the Aviationtag onlineshop.

35,000 pocket-sized Lufthansa cranes

Dismantling, cutting, punching out, polishing, this is the gradual transformation of the old aircraft shell into a lifestyle product. Finally, the distinctive laser engraving with all the data that an aircraft enthusiast’s heart desires: registration number of the aircraft, edition number, edition size and in addition the airline with the crane for which the plane used to fly. Of course, as strictly limited edition. The online shop of the Lufthansa WorldShop as well as the airport stores were very soon able to add this attractive travel and everyday accessory to their range of aviation products.

Aviationtags – new life with old skin

In 2016, the Cologne-based company made its upcycling idea fly for the first time. Meanwhile two airplanes land every month on bordbar’s “operating table”, on which something new is conjured up out of disassembled old things. In addition to the skins to be rejuvenated and beautified, many other parts from the aircraft interior are upcycled here. And now the cooperation with Lufthansa, with the assignment to make the above mentioned, disused giant bird fly to other destinations.

The special thing about the Lufthansa Upcycling Collection is that something of the spirit of the aircraft can be preserved and that there are so many ways to give discarded materials a second life in another form. Together with our colleagues from Lufthansa and Lufthansa Technik, we were enthusiastic about this idea from the very beginning and have created a real milestone with the new Lufthansa Upcycling Collection.

Sebastian Riedle, Speaker and Managing Director of Miles & More GmbH (Lufthansa subsidiary)

We also think it’s a great idea! The author of these lines thinks about who in her flight-loving family she could give a retro crane for her birthday. And she already has an idea.

Another very cool upcycling idea using materials such as discarded life jackets from airlines or seat covers from dismantled aircraft seats can be found in our article on Bag to Life.

Pictures © Aviationtag

by Esther Nestle

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