Emirates Donates Children Backpacks Made From Upcycled Aircraft Interiors.

To commemorate World Environment Day, Emirates is embarking on an innovative journey to repurpose more than 50,000 kilograms of materials from 191 aircraft.

This project will breathe new life into these materials, transforming them into thousands of handmade children’s backpacks and school bags, which will be donated to community schools and organisations supporting early education across Africa and Asia this year.

from seats to schoolbags.

Emirates’ Engineering team took on the challenge of repurposing the fabrics from the Economy Class seats of 22 Airbus A380 aircraft that have completed the retrofit process. 

From these aircraft, they recovered 5,205 kilograms of scrap materials, including seat fabric made of 95% wool and 5% nylon sourced from Germany and Ireland.

Recognising the durability and non-flammable nature of these materials, the team decided they would be perfect for creating high-quality backpacks for children in need.

In the Emirates Engineering workshop, a dedicated team of tailors got to work. They designed a range of backpacks tailored for children of different ages and collaborated with the Emirates Corporate Communications, Marketing & Brand team to identify charitable entities, schools, orphanages, and foundations where the bags will be distributed in the coming months.

Emirates’ teams spent weeks researching bag styles to ensure they were safe, comfortable, and fit for purpose. Each fabric was freshly laundered, deep cleaned by hand, leather-conditioned for accents, and thoroughly disinfected before being sewn into unique pieces.

New linings, functional zippers, and adjustable straps were added to create sturdy, quality bags that will be made-to-order for worthy causes across Africa and Asia.

Ahmed Safa, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President for Engineering, expressed his pride in the initiative: “We are so proud of our people at Emirates and their commitment to this initiative. Countless hours have been invested into making these bags for children; it’s a true passion project for our diligent team.”

world’s largest retrofit project.

Emirates is undertaking the world’s largest known retrofit project, a multibillion-dollar investment that began in August 2022.

The project aims to refit 191 aircraft, including 110 Airbus A380s and 81 Boeing 777s, with new interiors, providing up to 50,000 kilograms of waste fabrics for repurposing and upcycling.

From the 22 retrofitted Airbus A380 aircraft, materials from First and Business Class cabins such as leather, aluminium, and wool have already been repurposed. The “Aircrafted by Emirates” range, a limited-edition capsule collection of luggage launched in November 2023, sold out in weeks.

Proceeds from the sale, amounting to more than 70,000 AED, were donated to the Emirates Airline Foundation, supporting humanitarian projects worldwide.

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Sean Loo

Ignition Labs' resident editor loves all things retro, even though he was born in the late 90s. His main job encompasses tons of driving (and a massive carbon footprint), but he swears he turns off the lights each time he leaves his room.

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