Every aircraft has an impactful role in history, contributing to the colorful world of the airline industry. Unfortunately, each model produced will eventually succumb to wear and tear, forcing it to be scrapped and decommissioned as a flying vessel. Unless it becomes preserved in a museum, most commercial airplanes are scrapped for their metal parts to be recycled for newer plane models. However, Aviationtag has found a way to commemorate these retired planes as timeless memorabilia pieces.
The Birth of an Idea
Aviationtag was born in 1993, where its chief commercial officer, Tobias Richter, fell in love with aircrafts. By working in Ground handling under Debonair, Alitalia, and European Express, he found his place in bordbar. From there, the initial idea of repurposing airline trolleys into another product line was beginning. By 2015, Stephan Boltz bought a Piper PA28 for a teardown to achieve this goal. However, he wondered what else could be developed with the upcycled scrap.
After plans for a lamp upcycled from used aircraft structures went nowhere, Boltz tinkered with the idea of creating tags from the plane’s skin. This simple idea made it possible for the first Avationtag edition to be released in 2016.
The Process of Taking a Piece of History
Aviationtag connects with partner networks around the globe to buy different airframes or parts. Afterward, these planes undergo a rigorous process of salvaging scrap from unique frames. Since aircrafts are built differently, doing work on an Airbus A310 is different from dissecting a Boeing 747. For this reason, it’s necessary to have a full understanding of each aircraft’s build.
From the aircraft’s different panels, a desired spot is cut, packed, and transported to Germany. What follows is a systematic removal of rivets, stringers, and frames that remain on the skin. The company then cuts long flat pieces and punches the tags out of the base material. Afterward comes the sanding of its edges, engraving of designs, and cleaning before packing for sale.
The Act of Immortalizing Aircrafts
Aviationtag works with key partners like American Airlines, DHL, Air Canada, and Lufthansa and has sold over 200,000 units worldwide. Through Aviationtag’s products, the memories of decommissioned aircrafts can find a home in modern collectors’ hearts. The production of these sentimental memorabilia is a great way to give a final goodbye to these retired aircrafts bit by bit. Richter sees this process as a great way to preserve the memories attached to a plane.
Although it’s saddening to say goodbye to veteran aircrafts, Aviationtag’s business models make it possible to maintain their legacy. While these planes will no longer take to the skies, the tags produced aim to share a part of history to thousands of airplane enthusiasts worldwide. In fact, its Facebook fan group has a steady increase of 2,400 members and continues to grow to this day.
Aviationtag’s success is a heartwarming reminder that the history imbued in retired aircrafts can still be purchased and protected. As future generations of aircrafts continue to be produced, it’s reassuring to know that all things must come to an end. Nevertheless, this end doesn’t stop with being stuck in a hangar. Instead, a plane can exist beyond its use and find its home in an airplane enthusiast’s pocket.
Our store features a one-stop-shop for all aviation collectors. We provide various Aviationtag products along with other aircraft-related collectibles and memorabilia. Browse our store and find a piece of history from the skies today!