in Aircraft Interiors / Features

Sitting pretty on refurbished seats

Posted 20 November 2017 · Add Comment

African airlines' small fleet sizes don't carry a lot of clout with seating manufacturers. Could a website that acts like eBay for used aircraft seats solve the problem and be a lot more cost-effective than new seats? Victoria Moores has been finding out.

Sooner or later, most airlines want to upgrade their aircraft interiors, but what happens to the old seats?
“They end up as hidden capital in a warehouse,” said Thomas Bulirsch, founder and CEO of aircraft interior remarketing site aviationgate.com.
“If an airline doesn’t promote [advertise] the used seats, they can lose their potential value and, instead, become a burden and a cost factor. The longer you keep the seats, the more they cost and one day you could end up having to pay for them to be scrapped. Turning this cost into revenue has to be a good thing.”
The aviationgate.com website was created two years ago as a portal for airlines to sell these seats and help set them up with a new home. The team manages the listings and helps arrange seat refurbishment and certifications to get them flying again. There is no fee for listing seats on the website; aviationgate.com only charges a fixed commission once the seat is sold.
“Nobody is really doing the same thing as us. We are in a niche; the concept is quite unique,” Bulirsch said. “We want to make this invisible market a bit more visible.”
Bulirsch believes the African market has huge potential. “We are just not very well known yet. We have 110 different seat models online, available in a few days in ‘as removed’ condition. The price is a lot lower than a new seat; it can sometimes be a lot less than half the cost,” he said.
For smaller airlines, high costs and long lead times are not the only issue; it’s capturing the attention of the seat manufacturers in the first place. “The big guys focus on larger requirements and economies of scale. A lot of customers in Africa are not a focus area for the big seat original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). They are not willing to deliver low quantities of seats; it’s just not possible to go to an OEM for one or two shipsets. For us, scale is not a problem. We are happy to work with lower quantities.”
Aviationgate.com lists seats for a wide range of aircraft types, including older models, which could be hard to find elsewhere. It can customize the seats and bring them up to standard by refurbishing them, renewing the covers and fixing or changing plastic parts.
The company is also able to fit in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems, as it removes these and refits them too, with space to overhaul three narrow-body shipsets at once and store seats if needed.
The supply chain is just the seller, the website and the buyer. “We deal with you directly from our office. We don’t have middlemen in between making the products a lot more expensive. We have defined processes behind everything. This is not a grey market, or someone unknown selling seats from a warehouse. We have all the traceability documents and certification available to make the process of buying used seats a lot more secure.”
Finally, there is that potential revenue stream too. “Lots of airlines use us not only to source seats, but also to sell them. We are constantly looking to buy surplus seats. I would even put that in the category of ancillary revenues,” Bulirsch said.

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Bombardier’s Challenger 350 aircraft reaches 300 deliveries

Bombardier has announced that its industry-leading Challenger 350 aircraft is the fastest business jet in history to reach 300 deliveries in the medium and large categories.

Reforms needed to maximise aviation benefits in South Africa

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented its latest study on the economic value of air transport and tourism to South Africa, and identified opportunities for significant expansion over the next 20 years if key

Pegasus Universal Aerospace names Robbie Irons as CEO

South Africa’s Pegasus Universal Aerospace, pioneer of the Vertical Business Jet (VBJ) Pegasus One, has named Robbie Irons as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Ethiopian Airways CEO awarded Honorary Doctorate Degree

Addis Ababa University has conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree upon Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, at the University’s annual graduation ceremony held at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa on 13 July, 2019.

Ethiopian Airlines to launch flights to Garowe in Somalia

Ethiopian Airlines and SKYTRAX are to launch flight to Garowe, Somalia, via Bossaso, Somalia effective 15 July 2019.

Securing air service levels for Zimbabwe

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) yesterday met with Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa and a high level government delegation, to discuss the contribution of aviation to the country’s economy and

Aviationgate SK1007101019
See us at
Dubai AS BT2006211119MEBAA BT2006260919