How Etihad Is Turning Waste Aircraft Parts Into Art

Etihad Airways has partnered with local artists to upcycle obsolete aircraft parts that would otherwise go to landfill. So far, several pieces of art have been created from old cabin interiors, with elements from carpets to emergency equipment being transformed into works of art.

Etihad Airways, Aircraft Parts, Artwork
Etihad Airways has commissioned local artists to create pieces from waste aircraft parts. Photo: Getty Images

Around 94% of an aircraft can be reused or recycled at the end of its life. This could see fully functional cockpit equipment becoming a spare part for another aircraft or aluminum fuselage finding a new life as a keyring. However, what happens to the parts that can’t find a new home?

Turning waste into art

Working with local artists, Etihad Airways has been looking to ensure that waste parts that would otherwise go to landfill are reused. The airline has been working with Azza Al Qubaisi and Christine Wilson to upcycle end-of-life parts destined to go to the rubbish dump.

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Abu Dhabi native Al Qubaisi decided to focus on using seat floor mounting initially. By combining the parts, they have been turned into a symmetric geometric formation. According to the airline, this could either be placed on the floor or suspended from the ceiling.

Etihad Airways, Aircraft Parts, Artwork
Azza Al Qubaisi poses with her piece made from seat floor mounting. Photo: Etihad Airways

Speaking about her artwork in a press release seen by Simple Flying, Al Qubaisi commented,

“Visiting Etihad’s warehouse of aircraft parts during the COVID-19 pandemic brought back memories of travelling around the world and discovering different cultures. I was thrilled to have unlimited access to amazing materials that I could upcycle or melt into art.”

On display at Etihad’s HQ

The pieces of art that Etihad has commissioned are now on display at the airline’s headquarters. The airline is hoping that it will be able to commission more such pieces of art in the future. According to the airline’s Executive Director of Guest Experience, Brand, and Marketing, Terry Daly, the goal is to showcase the region’s talent. However, the airline also seeks to encourage sustainable innovation with the environment in mind.

Etihad Airways, Aircraft Parts, Artwork
Christine Wilson took a different approach with her piece ‘Aintiqal’, a reflection of the UAE’s space program. Photo: Ian D Murphy via Christine Wilson

One of the other pieces to make it into the Etihad Airways art collection was created by Ireland-born artist Christine Wilson, who resides in Dubai. According to the airline, she sought to remind travelers that 2020 should be remembered for more than the pandemic. Her piece entitled ‘Aintiqal’ is ‘a visual reflection of the Abu Dhabi skyline’. It is intended to represent national pride, such as ‘the incredible landmark achievements of the UAE’s space programme’.

Etihad is far from the first airline to upcycle aircraft parts. Last year Lufthansa turned parts of its first Airbus A320 into furniture for the home. The aircraft’s winglets were repurposed into coffee tables, while doors became bars.

What do you make of the Etihad upcycled artwork? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!