FACC - Baggage - Passenger

FACC – Cabin interiors: Sales boosters and brand ambassadors

Esther Nestle
03.09.2019
5 minutes

The aircraft cabin interiors market is expanding worldwide year after year. An unmistakable indicator of the immense importance of the aircraft cabin. Why is the market for aircraft cabin construction growing disproportionately? Where does the journey for aircraft cabins go? We have been talking to one of the global players in aircraft interior design. And gained illuminating insights.

Interview with Andreas Perotti, Director Marketing & Communications and Concern Spokesperson of FACC AG.

FACC - Cabin Interiors - Andreas Perotti

Mr. Perotti, the cabin interior market is growing worldwide. What exactly is driving this market so high?

A lot of things come together here. For instance, the increasing demand for flights. More and more passengers, more and more flights, more and more aircraft. Passenger numbers are doubling every 15 years! The current boom is coming from Asia, especially from India and China, where with growing prosperity the demand is also growing – the need for business trips, the need to travel the world as a tourist. In other regions of the world, such as Europe, the number of flights and passengers continues to grow. But the highest growth comes from Asia.

For one thing the quantity. And the quality?

What does the passenger want? What is the first thing he notices on getting into the plane? He wants to feel comfortable on board, he wants to have a pleasant flight. The type of aircraft he is flying in is usually not that important. The passenger appreciates comfort, he wants great service and a relaxed journey. And this puts growing emphasis on the cabin interior as a brand ambassador of the airlines. This is also reflected in the growing numbers flying premium economy class.

…you mean to say the in-between class between the no-frills class and business class?

Exactly. All this means that airlines are prepared to replace the entire cabin interior three or even four times in the course of an aircraft’s life. Passengers put out their feelers during the journey. The passenger sees and gains a sense of whether he is going to have to endure travelling in an unpleasant, outdated and run-of-the-mill cabin in a folded-up position counting down the minutes until landing.

Or whether he takes a seat in a pleasant, modern ambience tailored to the airline, with plenty of room for hand luggage or pleasant ambient lighting, taking advantage of the good in-flight entertainment and enjoying a relaxed flight towards his destination. The passenger is exposed to the few cubic metres around him for the duration of the flight, whether he likes it there or not. It’s the overall impression that counts, but also the detail. It is precisely this immediate proximity to the passenger that gives rise to the very special demands.

Cabin Interior - A320 - FACC

From floor to ceiling panels, galley to washrooms, ventilation to lighting – all this and much more is in the cabin interior. And all this at FACC?

As a tier 1 supplier, FACC is almost at the end of the value chain, directly with the OEMs. In our supply chain there are again 600 suppliers working for FACC (*), who in turn are supplied by their suppliers. What I would like to say is that behind all our products and solutions are highly complex and dynamic supply chains whose specific know-how and output come together in our company. FACC does not produce everything itself, no company can do that. One of our core tasks is therefore to optimally coordinate the respective production processes, from the galley to the baggage compartment to the passenger seat: on cost, on quality, in time.

(*) FACC in total

So, it’s classic supply chain management.

Yes, but ideally better than “classic”. With many synergies along the value chain. By the way, the supply chain in the area of business jets is becoming even more complex. Here, individualization goes even deeper than in the commercial sector, with correspondingly more diversified know-how.

If we compare the past decades with today: What has changed in the cabin interior?

A lot. Overall, the focus has shifted much more to the cabin. Whereas in the past it was the flight itself that attracted people, flying from A to B for most people today is somewhere between normality and necessity, such as driving a car or travelling on a train. So, it is important to make the time to get from A to B as pleasant as possible. For example, people want to be able to stow their hand luggage well. More cabin space for luggage is becoming increasingly important. Passengers want to sit comfortably, keep their privacy without having their personal space invaded, and enjoy the in-flight entertainment. Today’s consumer has become much more demanding.

FACC - Hand Luggage Space Upgrade

And this is where the airlines come in. How can airlines stand out from each other? By focusing more on the cabin, investing in upgrades and individualizing. For airlines, the cabin is the differentiating factor par excellence. In addition to service, the cabin is THE brand ambassador.

Is FACC in direct contact with other airlines?

From its history as a tier 1 supplier, FACC is more in close contact with the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), i.e. aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier or Embraer. In our new aftermarket services business, the customer is also the airline itself. With products such as our Passenger Luggage Space Upgrade (PLSU), for example, we are very successful here. At an attractive price, more space is created for hand luggage in the cabin and at the same time a modern design is implemented. The upgrade can be installed overnight.

In the second part of the interview, we talk about the challenges of the future: The battle for every millimetre. Sustainable action – lip service or more? Growing maintenance market. Possible leaps in innovation. Many exciting topics … It’s worth staying tuned!

Pictures © FACC

by Esther Nestle

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