Market Share: A Token From The Skies
There aren’t too many airplanes marked with a traditional pinup girl but this plane has one—clad in a red swimsuit and positioned just under the pilot’s window. The easily recognizable Virgin Airlines Airbus A340-600 series plane, “G-VEIL,” first took flight 15 years ago from Toulouse, France, joining the fleet of Virgin Atlantic Airway’s pinup-adorned planes. The 308-seat plane entered airspace with high regard—it was named by Queen Elizabeth II on the 100th anniversary of Entente Cordiale, a momentous agreement between Great Britain and France. But after years of travel, the “Queen of the Skies” grew weathered. In 2016 she was retired in San Bernardino, California, and flagged for the junkyard—until Dave Hall, owner of MotoArt, a Torrance, California-based builder that specializes in fixtures and décor made from recycled airplane parts, took her under his wing by purchasing the aircraft.
Being that the Queen carries a fragment of history, Hall wanted to celebrate her 15-year run by manufacturing and selling PlaneTags, which are tags made from the fuselage (the main body) of retired planes. Each tag is unique, as it carries the width, hue and deterioration from the section of the fuselage where it was cut. Each PlaneTag is also numbered as a limited-edition item, enabling aviation fans to build their own historical collections. The company also maintains a philanthropic angle: for every “Queen of the Skies” PlaneTag sold, a $3 donation is made to The Virgin Atlantic Foundation, an international organization supporting the wellbeing of children and youth in partnership with WE, a worldwide philanthropy that helps impoverished communities.
With ongoing changes being made to aircraft design—Boeing, Inc. is slated to discontinue its jumbo 747 model in the near future—this tag serves as a keepsake for aviation history. But not only do the PlaneTags present a unique selling point for the company, but an innovative way of taking a secondhand piece of metal and reworking it for resale and new meaning. The philanthropic effort allows the memory of the plane to soar on in customers’ minds and also gives back to continue the aircraft’s long legacy.
Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.