This year DHL Express is celebrating its 50th birthday as a global brand boasting some 380,000 employees in over 220 countries and territories – and as pioneer in the express logistics industry. The company looks back to a strong aviation history as the first document that was shipped in 1969 was delivered via airplane from US mainland to Honolulu. To celebrate its 50th anniversary DHL is teaming up with bordbar to launch a limited edition of a DHL Aviationtag.
To transport shipments in the shortest possible time DHL Express operates with own airplanes and a huge network of partner airlines. Also included: the Boeing 757 with the registration D-ALEH. In 2003, when it was converted into a purely cargo aircraft for DHL Express, for the first time in its career the Boeing was given its typical yellow-red paint job. Before then it had already served 17 years as a passenger aircraft. Another 15 years and countless letter, package and parcel deliveries later, in 2018 it was finally retired and parked in Castellon, Spain.
When the D-ALEH arrived there last year, nobody would have guessed that just one year down the line, it would be ready for another delivery. But this is exactly what is now happening to mark DHL Express’s 50th anniversary.
The logistics provider has been Aviationtag’s shipping partner since 2018, so this was the perfect opportunity to expand the cooperation. Today, 10,000 Aviationtags from the fuselage of the old freighter are being launched as a limited anniversary edition: so the old cargo plane has one last valuable delivery in it after all.
This involved parts of the outer skin of the retired aircraft being dismantled and cut to size at the bordbar manufactory in Cologne until they could be punched into the typical Aviationtag shape and then polished, before finally undergoing precise laser engraving. Each of the strictly limited-edition Aviationtags now features the aircraft type, aircraft registration number, edition number, edition size and, of course, the DHL logo.
The Aviationtags from the Boeing 757 D-ALEH have now been reborn as key and luggage tags – or as collector’s items. While the small tags are interesting for almost anyone who loves flying and the feeling it inspires, this edition has its very own unique charm: For a decade and a half, this special freighter transported up to 40 tons of consignments to their destination with every flight.
So anyone buying one of the Aviationtags from this edition at the same time is also buying a piece of the countless stories that this aircraft has undoubtedly written. What was once scrap metal is thus transformed into a piece of air freight history.