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Best upcycling ideas for aircraft parts

Every day hundreds of aircraft parts are ordered and sent to be fitted on aircraft. However, what happens when these parts aren’t good enough for reusing or become obsolete? Here, Adam Murray, director of operations at component supply specialist
Artemis Aerospace, unveils some of the best ideas for upcycling aircraft parts

Recycling aircraft parts isn’t a new concept in the aviation industry and, for many years, refurbishing parts to fit on other aircraft or repurposing them to produce different products, such as circuit boards, has been the industry standard.

In fact, according to AFRA (Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association), it is estimated that around 80% to 85% of aircraft parts are recycled when an aircraft reaches retirement. However, new and alternative ideas for reusing aircraft parts are becoming more commonplace.

Homeware collections

Airbus and Lufthansa are among some of the companies breathing new life into aircraft parts by creating designer furniture and homeware collections for modern living.

The project called A Piece of Sky, which was supported by Airbus and its Airbus BizLab initiative, was the first to start transforming the manufacturer’s parts into furniture. These include armchairs, coffee tables and lamps created from things such as cabin windows and test flight storage data modules. They have also created Airbus branded surfboards out of recycled carbon.

In October 2020, Lufthansa launched its Upcycling Collection 2.0 – a range of homeware products made from retired aircraft parts. The collection features furniture, sculptures and accessories built with parts from a decommissioned A320. Key products include a flying coffee table created from landing flaps and a wall bar formed from an aeroplane window mounted onto a wooden box.

Aviation themed accommodation

Ideal for aviation enthusiasts or those looking for something a little bit different during a flight stopover, Jumbostay’s converted Boeing 747, located at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm, offers the chance to sleep in a jet without leaving the ground.

Providing accommodation and breakfast, the unique hotel offers a range of rooms, from suites with private showers to dormitories for up to four people. The Cockpit Suite even includes a fully preserved flight deck featuring all the original instruments, so you can play pilot to your heart’s content!

Christmas tree ornaments

Whether you’re a committed aviation enthusiast or simply fancy something a little bit different, then how about using surplus engine parts and accessories to add an effective and interesting festive flourish to your Christmas tree?

From washers, fasteners and rivets to hinges, grommets and seals, parts can be repurposed quickly and easily by simply adding some ribbon or coloured string.

Strike a pose on a private jet ‘selfie set’

Ever wanted to fly by private jet? It might not be quite the same thing, but for a little bit of light-hearted fun, take a trip to the Selfie Factory at the O2 in London, where you can spend the day make-believing you are living the good life.

Comprising a variety of sets, including the interior of a private jet, the Selfie Factory allows guests to take as many photos as they like and even offers a changing area so you can don a different outfit each time.

Drinks bars

Raise a glass at your very own custom-built bar that’s been crafted out of upcycled aircraft fuselage. Created by SkyPod, bars are available in a wide range of colours, finishes and worktop options. All bars come complete with frosted or unfrosted windows, remote control RGB LED lights and a certificate of the plane number and its history. Cheers!