Aerospace corporation Airbus has kitted out one of its Corporate Helicopters with a fully vegan interior. The special design was made at the request of a customer, German construction entrepreneur Dr. Urs Brunner.
Brunner is married to fashion designer Daniela Brunner, founder of ethical fashion house Giulia & Romeo. The brand uses no animal products, and Ms. Brunner was determined that the helicopter’s interior would be in line with these ethics.
Instead of conventional leather, Airbus used a vegan alternative called Ultraleather — which looks like animal leather and has the same durability — in the Brunners’ helicopter. The passenger seats, central storage cabinet, rear partition, and cockpit control cuffs were all redesigned to use the material.
Vegan leather interiors
Vegan leather is rapidly gaining in popularity in car interiors, with Volvo recently revealing plans to make all new cars leather-free. Meanwhile, BMW will be partnering with Desserto to use cactus leather, after announcing plans to end the use of conventional leather in all Mini and 5-Series cars. Mercedes has also been experimenting with animal-free interiors, after vegan Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton attempted to convince the company to stop using leather.
The vegan automotive leather market is forecast to grow with a CAGR of 48% over the period 2020-2026. In the wake of this progress, it seems inevitable that vegan leather will soon be widely used in the interiors of other vehicles such as aircraft.
“We’re very proud of our team’s work in creating this bespoke ACH Line interior. The material that we used is certified for aviation use and is hard-wearing, but it can only be stretched in one direction which means it is a challenge to work with, particularly on the seats,” said Head of ACH Frederic Lemos. “This is where the craftsmanship of our hands-on team became crucial and I am delighted to say that we found a practical way to meet our customer’s desires which also looks superb.”