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Emirates upcycles first retired A380 for customer purchase

written by Isabella Richards | November 2, 2021
Emirates’ first retired A380 will be fully repurposed in the UAE in a pioneering initiative with Falcon Aviation Recycling to save most of the aircraft from landfill. (Emirates)

Emirates Airline has announced its first retired A380 aircraft will be upcycled and repurposed into furniture and collectibles for customers to purchase.

As part of a contract signed with UAE-based Falcon Aircraft Recycling, the company will deconstruct and repurpose the aircraft to reduce environmental footprint.

A portion of profits from the sale of all items will go towards Emirates Airline Foundation, an organisation supporting underprivileged children, launched in 2003.

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“All repurposing activity will be fully executed in the UAE also speaks to the strong aviation ecosystem and capabilities that the nation has built up in its short history,” said Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates airline.

“Our customers and fans can take home a piece of aviation history while saving valuable materials from landfill and contributing to a charitable cause through the Emirates Airline Foundation,” Clark added.

Partnering with Wings Craft, another UAE-based company who produces furniture from aircraft materials, Falcon Aircraft will design collectibles and retail items for purchase from what has been retrieved.

The items will be available for purchase over the coming months, Emirates said.

The first A380 Emirates bought was delivered in 2008 from Airbus’ Hamburg facility, and it performed its last commercial flight in March last year.

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As soon as it retired, the aircraft was transferred to the airline’s engineering centre where the team retrieved usable components such as engines, landing gears and flight controls.

According to Andrew Tonks, director of Falcon Aircraft Recycling, around 190 tonnes of metals, plastics, carbon fibre composites and more are being upcycled and repurposed.

“The recovery program will be delivered fully within the UAE and ensure that the majority of the aircraft will find a second life,” Tonks said.

“Our teams are currently busy with the breakdown and final concepts for the first batch of unique upcycled items. We look forward to unveiling more information on the retail items soon.”

Emirates has remained the largest operator of the slowly phasing out Airbus A380 jet, with over 120 of the aircraft in its fleet.

Over the past few years, the once largest passenger airliner being manufactured became more obsolete due to presiding demand for narrowbody aircraft in the post-pandemic recovery.

Despite this, numerous airlines have unexpectedly brought back the jet in response to increasing travel demand and issues with other manufacturers.

In August, Australia’s flag carrier Qantas announced it would return five of its 12 A380 aircraft as it prepared for international borders to open.

The airline said it would use the jets for its Sydney to Los Angeles route, and its Sydney to London, via Singapore route beginning in 2022.

Qatar Airways, which once said its A380 purchase was the biggest mistake, announced in late September it would return the aircraft due to the groundings of numerous A350 jets.

Then in October, Europe’s last operating customer of the aircraft, British Airways, signed an extension to return its A380s amid the reopening of trans-Atlantic travel.

3 Comments

  • Adrian P

    says:

    Has any body considered using old A380s for live exports?
    A shorter journey time would be better for the animals and there would be savings on husbandry during long sea services.

    • phil

      says:

      the -380 wasn’t designed for freight; least of all LIVE freight.

      • Adrian P

        says:

        Passengers are LIVE freight.
        Passenger aircraft which became freighters. DC3, Airspeed AS.57 Ambassador, DC10s.
        Of course not forgetting the Boeing 707 which not only became a freighter but also AWACS and flight refuellers.

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