Used Seat Business Thriving With Traffic Growth

Irish MRO AeroAid is seeing strong growth in the segment but costs of hiring skilled mechanics are rising.

As air traffic continues to grow and older aircraft stay in service, cabin interiors must be repaired and maintained. However, for aircraft that are aging towards retirement, operators may want to keep refurbishment cost as low as possible and because of this, used seats are seen as a very attractive choice.

Ireland’s AeroAid was founded 20 years ago and now supplies, repairs and modifies aircraft interior equipment, most prominently seats. Distinctively, the company can supply, overhaul, engineer and deliver on dock an aircraft shipset of seats, with a fixed agreed price from start to finish of the project. 

But the part of AeroAid’s seating business that is growing most strongly now is provision of high-quality used seats. Customers want “value for money," the company's director of technical services Derek Byrne stresses. Generally, used seats are not ordered by shipset, but in small numbers to replace damaged or worn out seats - costing about half the price of new seats.

Byrne says the demand for used replacement seats is general, coming from all regions, from major, low-cost carriers and ultra budget airlines and for all kinds of aircraft, from widebodies down to regional aircraft. This business has been growing robustly and he expects its robust expansion to continue in 2020.

The main challenge AeroAid faces is finding enough of the right people to employ and recruiting new mechanics. So far, the company has met that challenge with a simple solution, “paying more and more,” Byrne explains. In a used-seat business based on price, that requires some careful balancing of costs and benefits.

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