PAX Tech MRO London October 2019

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OCTOBER 2019 |

MRO, Interiors & IFEC






human factor


hen I asked P.J. Anson, CEO of STS Aviation, what he and his colleagues talk about most often at events — such as MRO Europe and the Aircraft Interiors Expo Middle East — he was quick to answer and what he said will probably surprise few of the people who work in this industry. “Human capital resources is always the biggest topic,” he says. STS Aviation has a distinct advantage with the company’s history as a recruiter of mechanics and engineers worldwide. STS has a staff of 150 people whose job it is to match people with jobs. Those recruiters will be busy in the near future. In the time frame of 2022 to 2023 the industry could be looking at a critical shortage of mechanics, Anson says. A combination of rate increases for the work could be a sign that higher paying jobs may become available to lure certified mechanics that now have the potential to earn more in a competing industry, such as automotive. Both Boeing and Airbus have been watching the demand for skilled mechanics closely, and Anson says that is where a lot of the industry goes for information. Up to 11,600 new aircraft

will be delivered over the next decade. Boeing estimates there will be demand in North America for 193,000 aircraft mechanics in the next 20 years to maintain those aircraft. Delta Air Lines alone will need to replace 2,000 mechanics who will be retiring in the next decade. Demand will be equally acute in the Middle East, the home of the next big MRO event at the end of February in Dubai. Organizers of the Aircraft Interiors Middle East released a report this fall that the region’s aviation service industry will be worth an estimated US$745 billion by 2037. The Middle East is well on its way to fulfilling some of the demand with companies like AIM Altitude, Estonian MRO and Abu Dhabi-based Magnetic MRO — the largest facility operated by Etihad Airways Engineering. PAX Tech will have a significant presence at AIME 2020 February 25 to26 in Dubai. During that time, we hope to learn much more about the challenges facing the aviation industry through panel discussions and exploring the exhibiting stands and products. Please feel free to reach out to us for feedback and news in the run-up to the event.

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NEW LOOK FOR A NEO JetBlue’s newly designed A321neo went into service at the end of September, with the help of a firm from across the Atlantic reinforcing the airline’s New York brand and service style from entrance to tail

OCTOBER 2019 |

MRO, Interiors & IFEC




Diehl Aviation ends its year with the development of new cabin products and a repair and maintenance partner in an important Southeast Asian hub




Italian cabin branding specialist ABC International comments on the industry’s shift in focus from cabin passenger capacity to comfort


STS Aviation added to its portfolio of companies again this year, with the acquisition of UK-based Apple Aviation for a foothold in a region with growing MRO demands




NEWS  |  PAX TECH  |  3



Gore reveals next gen inflight connectivity solutions at APEX Expo 2019 W.L. Gore & Associates (Gore) displayed a collection of aerospace cables and assemblies at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Expo September 10 to 12 in Los Angeles. The manufacturer specializes in cables and assemblies engineered to withstand broad temperature ranges, abrasion, wear, repeated mechanical stress, high voltage and hazardous contaminants. The GORE® Aerospace Fiber Optic Cables 1.8 mm Simplex cables transfer critical data on high-speed avionics networks beyond 100 Gbps. They weigh less and cost less than traditional copper cable and ruggedized fiber optic cables. The company also highlighted its GORE® Microwave/RF Assemblies 7 series which are made to prevent the ingress of water vapor, fuels, oils, chemicals and contaminants. The rugged, vapor-sealed cable maintains low insertion less, low return loss and excellent phase stability at frequencies up to 18 GHz. Also on display was GORE® Aerospace High Speed Data Cables – built to support open-source architecture and standard protocols such as HDMI, USB and Ethernet – and, GORE® Leaky Feeder Antennas – which deliver constant connectivity to a variety of wireless networks. Gore cables are designed for rugged use and weigh less than traditional copper cables


Latitude Aero to debut VIP offerings at NBAA Conference Turnkey aircraft seating overhaul provider Latitude Aero is heading to the 2019 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) for the first time from October 22 to 24. The company will be at the annual conference in Las Vegas at booth C8325. Latitude Aero will use its presence at the NBAA to speak with current and prospective aircraft owners, manufacturLatitude Aero will be talking ers and customers about its move into VIP aircraft at October’s NBAA the VIP aircraft market. The company provides inflight entertainment and in-seat power upgrades, including installation of setback AVOD systems and device charging stations. “As a longtime member of NBAA, I understand the value of this association and particularly this event, and am excited to bring Latitude Aero to one of the largest trade shows in the industry,” said President and CEO Kelvin Boyette, in a release from the company. “Exhibiting for the first time as we expand into the luxury VIP market will be a full-circle moment.” Boyette had a 10-year history in business aircraft interiors before founding Latitude Aero, including being an NBAA Certified Aviation Manager (CAM), meaning that he is qualified to lead flight departments and companies that use business aircraft. To achieve this certification, professionals must demonstrate exemplary knowledge of the industry and expertise in five areas: leadership, human resources, operations, business management and technical facility services.


Bernie Allen joins SEKISUI SPI as VP of Marketing SEKISUI SPI, manufacturer or KYDEX® thermoplastics, has hired Bernie Allen as Vice President of Marketing. In this role, he will be responsible for connecting customers in emerging markets, such as automation and robotics, with industry partners and SEKISUI SPI’s innovation centers. Allen joins the company with 20 years of experience in product marketing, trade advertising and consumerfocused campaigns. He is educated in mass communications and media technologies and previously held positions in international marketing, Internet marketing, media marketing and as director of marketing. His accomplishments include establishing marketing strategies for international subsidiaries, expanding North American marketing for specific product categories, growing tradeshow presence and creating social media footprints for brands.

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“Over the past two decades, I have helped multiple manufacturers connect with their customers and identify ways to Bernie create meaningful partnerships. Allen A big part of my focus at SPI will be learning what our customers need and developing resources and marketing services to exceed customer expectations,” said Allen in a release from SEKISUI SPI. Ronn Cort, President and COO of SEKISUI SPI added: “I am excited to have Bernie open up our cabinets full of educational and communication materials to our customers in a more effective way by connecting our customers and industries to our vast array of design, technical, and innovation materials.”




Trenchard Aviation Group expands to Mauritius Trenchard Aviation Group has opened a new facility on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Trenchard Aviation Group has long been providing a dry cleaning service for Air Mauritius as well as seat cover cutting and sewing of seat covers from its base near Gatwick Airport. Now, with its new facility on the island of Mauritius, Trenchard Aviation Group will be able to deliver a full service with a faster turnaround time and at a reduced cost. Trenchard Aviation Group provides soft furnishings, carpets and dry cleaning. With its own cut and sew facilities, the company’s expertise covers the manufacture of all types of seat covers and curtains as well as cockpit covers, fire containment sacks and other cabin bags and warning streamers. Trenchard’s team of pattern makers and machinists create and develop new covers and curtains to match customer specifications and all textile materials used in manufacture are tested in the company’s on-site UKAS-approved vertical burn test chamber. “Trenchard Aviation Group has been providing a great service for the flag carrier airline of Mauritius for a number of years,” said Mark Faulkner, Trenchard Aviation Group’s CEO, in a September 2 release. “With our latest facility near to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Mauritius, we will not only be able to enhance that service but also make a unique offer to potential new customers.”

The A320neo joins the group of aircraft for maintenance at FL Technics

FL Technics expands line maintenance services with Airbus A320neo family type FL Technics, integrated aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul service provider, part of Avia Solutions Group, has extended its EASA Part-145 approval to include the A320neo aircraft family for line maintenance services. The company has already added the A320neo aircraft family to its main line station in Vilnius, Lithuania. Further expansion is being planned for Dubai, Vienna, Tbilisi, Riga and Kiev airports — where FL Technics currently operates EASA Part-145 approved line stations with A320s, A330s and 737 capabilities. Zilvinas Lapinskas, CEO at FL Technics, said in a statement from the company: “The new addition to our already existing EASA Part-145 approval gives a proof that our company is working extremely hard towards the highest results and quality possible. From now own, our line maintenance stations will have even broader scope of operations, expanding the possibilities of maintaining over 900 operational A320neo family aircraft.”


Airbus Service Centre opens at Dubai Airport Freezone Airbus Cabin Electronics celebrated its first Service Centre for Africa and Middle East regions, opening at Dubai Airport Freezone. The new facility comes as Airbus continues to expand investment in Africa and Middle East regions since it first opened offices more than 40 years ago. The facility will serve local and regional carriers and customers in India and Turkey. It will repair and service spare parts for cabin components and systems as well as customer onsite technical services — such as cabin system training. Mikail Houari, President of Airbus Africa and Middle East, and Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General of Dubai Airport Freezone

Authority, as well as other industry VIPs attended the opening. “The launch of this facility is yet another milestone in our long-term commitment to the UAE and wider Middle East and Africa markets,” said Houari in a statement released by Airbus. “By creating greater proximity to our customers here at Dubai Airport Freezone, we will be able to continue providing world-class services in a region which we continue to see growth and opportunities for further expansion.”

Mikail Houari, President of Airbus Africa and Middle East (right), Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General of DAFZA (middle) and Stefan Roemelt, Airbus Head of Center of Competence Cabin & Cargo (left) pose during inauguration celebration on September 24  |  PAX TECH  |  5


neo New look for a

The Core cabin on the A321neo is done in traditional JetBlue colors


t’s difficult to say whether many passengers noticed the design elements of JetBlue’s newest A321neo aircraft as it took off from New York JFK September 25, but the work that went into it started years ago, finishing just in time for the airline to observe an important milestone. The side of the aircraft bears the name of one of the airline’s founders, David Neeleman, and the flight (number 1 from Kennedy that day) was bound for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the first revenue JetBlue has outfitted the all Economy Class cabin with 10 inch IFE screens

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JetBlue’s newly designed A321neo went into service at the end of September, with a design firm from across the Atlantic reinforcing the airline’s New York brand and service style from entrance to tail route for JetBlue nearly 20 years ago. Eventually, the first of the A321neos will be on two new longer-range international routes from JFK to Guayaquil, Ecuador and Georgetown, Guyana. As much as the redesign focuses on symbolism of the past, the A321neo will mean a lot to the future JetBlue, and the airline industry as a whole. Narrow body aircraft of its type are taking their place in routes that, until now, have nearly been the exclusive purview of wide bodies on flights over the world’s oceans.

Perhaps the people who are most aware of the significance of the aircraft is the team at UK-based Acumen Design Associates. The crew has been designing, revising and finally perfecting the look of the aircraft since the company took on the project in 2016. “This is such a heavily customized narrow body that it was kind of a first for Airbus,” says Daniel Clucas, Senior Designer at Acumen. The design relied heavily on buyer furnished equipment (BFE) picked out by the airline, rather than design elements and options found in the Airbus catalog. To create the highly customized look, Acumen started at a logical place — the entrance. From top to bottom, the company integrated a bold JetBlue identity with a bespoke graphic arc, flooring design and a unique front row partition. The entrance has storage areas for the iPads used by crew and a discreet window that gives a view of the cabin when they are positioned in the flight attendant seating area. “We spent a lot of time immersing ourselves in their design brand to develop a unique design philosophy;


JetBlue has a strong graphic identity and graphic treatment at JFK. We wanted to make that seamless from the ground to the air,” adds Mike Crump, Brand Experience Director. JetBlue is extending the welcoming concepts in its updated snack station. Previously called The Marketplace, the airline has opted for a new name: The Pantry®. The challenge for Acumen was to make The Pantry into an area that encourages passengers to stretch their legs. Too often, they said, JetBlue was concerned that passengers were not sure whether the complimentary snacks laid out were there for their consumption. The changes continue into the main cabin, which, in the case of the

Acumen envisioned a backpack in the seatback storage area

The Pantry® will welcome passengers with an array of complimentary snacks

A321neo, is equipped with 200 seats in a one-class divided configuration called Core and Even More Space. JetBlue selected the Meridian seat from Collins Aerospace throughout the aircraft. The dress cover is ELeather with a look and design by Acumen and manufactured by Sabati Wain Aerospace. The seat is 18 inches wide and installed at a pitch of at least 35 inches in the Even More Space area of the aircraft. In Core, the seats feature the airline’s signature blue accenting while Even More Space have a bold orange halo and adjustable padded headrests. The seatback area has a look that Acumen designers call the “backpack” with a selection of pockets, hooks and storage where passengers can easily store devices and travel essentials.

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“JetBlue has a long-standing reputation in the aviation industry as an airline that puts the customer at the heart of everything it does,” says Clucas. “By re-working the LOPA and developing custom stowage options, we were able to give customers more choice in how they use their increased space.” A big share of JetBlue passengers come from a city teeming with young urbanites of the type who worked with Catherine Barber, Acumen’s Brand Development Manager, and challenged the company to create an area that encourages Instagram-worthy moments in, of all places, the lavatory. “They wanted a special statement at every point of the customer experience,” Barber says. JetBlue sought to create a classic urban vibe in the lavatories to

achieve this. At the front and rear of the aircraft are lavatories with a wall that simulates brick tiles in blue and gray. There is a large mirrored wall and polished flooring that looks like concrete. Barber says that the team from JetBlue wanted it to reflect the look of a modern New York city subway station. The coming years will be important ones in JetBlue’s expansion. The airline has orders for 85 A321neos including 13 A321LR long-range aircraft and 13 A321XLR extra-long-range aircraft. Its first flights over the Atlantic Ocean are scheduled for 2021 to London from New York and Boston. As the A321XLRs are being delivered, JetBlue will use them to serve several European cities. Acumen has also been pressed into service by JetBlue to work on other design projects. For now, the airline and Acumen are showing the aviation industry what can be accomplished with a distinctive new look in the all Economy Class cabin of the airline’s new A321neo. “It is not every day that two innovative powerhouses of the industry come together to create something new, but that is exactly what happened here,” said Andrew Litavis, Product Development Manager at JetBlue, in a release from Acumen. “Built with our crew members and our customers in mind, the new A321 cabin is unlike any other singleaisle aircraft interior flying today — and will redefine expectations for economy travelers taking to the skies.”

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taking flight S

Diehl Aviation ends its year with the development of new cabin products and a repair and maintenance partner in an important Southeast Asian hub

ince officials from Diehl Aviation stepped off the aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport in September, the German company has been making big moves. Diehl made an appearance at this year’s major maintenance, repair and overhaul event in Singapore, recently sealing a deal with a new partner in the region. On show floors at both events was a selection of new products designed to enhance the cabin experience. Some of them were revealed to media and attendees during what is becoming an annual event leading up to the Airline Passenger Experience Association and Aircraft Interiors Americas. On a special flight from Munich to Los Angeles — dubbed the Flying Lab — Helge Sachs, Diehl’s Senior Vice President of Product Innovation, showed guests a presentation on cabin features and passenger experi-

ences they could expect in the future. If Diehl’s vision of the future is accurate, airlines will be flying aircraft that make better use of available space and are better at maintaining cabin hygiene during long-distance flights. These visions come to life in the form of three recent projects by Diehl. First is a modular cabin management system that places nearly all cabin-related aircraft functions on a single control panel. Another is a cabin monument solution that frees up space by strategically positioning galleys and lavatories — it is currently flying with a Latin American carrier. Finally, there is a new user-friendly lavatory feature that earned Diehl a finalist designation in this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards. Sachs discussed the new features on the Flying Lab and during the CabinSpaceLive seminar in Los Angeles.

The company’s new cabin management system is called the Cabin Area Network and Services (CANSAS). It can be handled from a single control panel or multiple ones, depending on the size of the aircraft. Diehl says with touch screen capability, CANSAS allows cabin crew to easily manage up to 20 cabin functions on the aircraft from general illumination, water and waste handling, to telephone and cabin video surveillance. “One major capability is to include non-essential functions in a hassle-free and cost efficient way,” says Sachs. “These functions without safety impact can be implemented on the basis of an open software platform.” CANSAS can be either line fit or retrofit to an aircraft. The product also has a number of additional features and can be integrated with mobile devices used by the crew.

Flight crew can monitor up to 20 functions with the CANSAS management system

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T H E M I D D L E E A S T ’ S O N LY A I R C R A F T I N T E R I O R S E V E N T

It’s what’s inside that counts


25-26 February 2020 Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE


W W W. A I M E . A E R O



CABIN INTERIORS Making space work

Diehl worked with Lufthansa Technik to develop its Skypax cabin monument solution that is currently flying with the Latin American airline. Positioned in the tail section of any aircraft, Skypax combines galley and lavatory space into one area, freeing up space for additional passenger seating while at the same time reducing weight and increasing fuel efficiency. At the beginning of June, the Skypax concept was awarded the German Aviation Innovation Prize in the “Emission Reduction” category. The other innovation that caught the attention of judges at the Crystal Cabin Awards was the company’s Voice Controlled Lavatory (VCL) concept that borrows a page from the technology that brought devices like Amazon’s Alexa into homes around the world. With the VCL, passengers can use the functions of the aircraft lavatory

through voice commands without touching surfaces and sides. “We are constantly striving for product innovations that make travel more comfortable for passengers and operations smoother for the airlines,” says Sachs. “In the case of the VCL, the prime driver was to look for new solutions that could enhance hygienic appliances for the passengers.” Passenger hygiene is becoming increasingly important to airlines as aircraft carry more passengers on longer flights. In addition to keeping the cabin free of touch points that can transmit disease and bacteria, Diehl sees a future in the VCL for passengers with disabilities, offering easier access and operation of lavatories.

Additional Asian presence

These products, and a vast array of others, were shown to the world global market by Diehl Aviation Week Net-

Diehl’s Skypax lavatory and galley concept is designed for weight savings and optimum use of space

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work’s MRO Asia-Pacific event that took place September 24 to 26 in Singapore. As PAX Tech was going to press, Diehl announced at the event a collaboration with service provider SR Technics and its authorized repair station near Sabang Airport outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The agreement covers repair services for water/waste and air conditioning components that are now part of the Diehl Aviation product line. The new service center joins Diehl’s three customer service centers located in Toulouse, France (for the Middle East, Europe and Africa), Sterrett, Alabama, (for the Americas) and Singapore (for the Asia Pacific region). “With growth in the Asian market projected to remain above world average, this agreement between Diehl Aviation and SR Technics reflect the partners’ strategy to continually enhance their presence in the region,” said a September 24 release from Diehl.


Europe on their mind STS acquired Apple Aviation at the end of September. The company is located in Newquay, England.

STS Aviation added to its portfolio of companies again this year, with the acquisition of UK-based Apple Aviation for a foothold in a region with growing MRO demands


hen officials from STS Aviation Group head to October’s MRO Europe event in London, they will bring with them new capabilities and ambitions in the host country, with an eye on winning new customers and better serving the company’s loyal following throughout mainland Europe. The Jenson Beach, Florida-based company announced its acquisition of Apple Aviation in late September. The worldwide maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) organization boasts a 150,000 square-foot maintenance area in Newquay, England and marks the second acquisition for STS this year. Delegates at MRO Europe may hear the announcement of yet another acquisition by STS Aviation, CEO P.J. Anson tells PAX Tech. But for now, he says the company is excited to get its hands on a state-of-the-art maintenance facility with 40,000 square-feet dedicated to parts processing located in one of the world’s most vibrant aviation countries. “We are looking to expand and build relationships with international carriers so we can grow our international business in the United States as well,” Anson says. The company’s facility in Melbourne, Florida has a hangar large enough to hold a 747-800; and with

the acquisition complete in the UK, the company is looking to put a wide body hangar in the Newquay area and begin taking in work that requires quick installations that are not scheduled around regular heavy maintenance. Anson says airlines are demanding modifications for entire fleets. As an example he described the work the company did installing inflight Wi-Fi connectivity on American Airlines aircraft that were regularly moved in and out of STS facilities installing hardware from Gogo, Inmarsat and Panasonic Avionics. Such an approach would be an important advantage, says Anson, as many of the airline fleets in Europe are anxious to add the service. “The biggest push for us is to continue to grow in Europe. We see lots of opportunity there and we want a bigger footprint and to be a bigger player. We are excited about it,” Anson adds. While the fate of the United Kingdom in a post-Brexit Europe is still uncertain, Anson said one thing that will remain constant is the importance of the British aviation industry. “We believe there is probably as much opportunity for benefits in the long term through what’s going on there as there is for us to have some risk,” he says. In addition to the new Apple

STS Aviation CEO P.J. Anson

acquisition, STS operates one other location in the European Union. The subsidiary — STS UJet — supplies aircraft seats and cabin interior parts out of a facility in Shannon, Ireland. In March of this year, STS purchased Triumph Aviation Services’ NAAS Division, which specializes in fuel systems maintenance, lead detection and bladder cell repair. The NAAS business is located in San Antonio, Texas, operating 20 locations in the U.S. and two facilities in Europe. With STS’s Apple acquisition, the company adds to its roster a company that in the past five years has established a customer base of lessors, military organizations and OEMs. “We met with various investors and decided that the STS Aviation Group’s history, team and profile was the best fit for our business,” said Bernard Longman, Founder and Director of Apple Aviation, in the announcement of the acquisition. “Together, we look forward to expanding our services across the world.”  |  PAX TECH  |  13



intangible comfort

Italian cabin branding specialist ABC International comments on the industry’s shift in focus from cabin passenger capacity to comfort


hile maximizing cabin passenger capacity was once the main focus for airlines, there’s a shift now towards prioritizing passenger comfort over quantity, according to cabin branding specialist ABC International. Comfort is no longer strictly linked to having a longer seat pitch or a delicious meal onboard, the company says. Passenger comfort has evolved to include tangible and intangible elements that need to be combined perfectly in order to create an unforgettable onboard experience. In other words, getting passengers from point A to point B does not suffice for today’s connectivity-hungry travelers. In a world of social media, influencers and personal brands, passengers demand that their connection to the world remains – especially when they’re miles high in the sky. This drives a need for cabin interior designers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to invest in new technologies that produce an onboard experience that complements both the passenger’s own personal brand and that of the airline – and at the same improves fuel efficiency. In recent years, the industry has seen a spike in the number of retrofit projects. Companies like ABC International are finding that airlines are looking to standardize their current fleet, implementing “state-of-the-art” solutions for connectivity, branding and cabin modification. ABC International supports airlines, MROs and leasing companies with

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tailored full-package solutions for cabin branding and interior modifications, managed within its EASA privileges that are easy to implement in order to reduce A/C maintenance ground time. The company specializes in lightweight cabin interior kits, such as partitions, class dividers, stowage boxes, soft furnishing items (carpet, curtains and seat covers) and interior placard sets. As a one-stop-shop with engineering and certification expertise, ABC International says it gives airlines the opportunity to refurbish its cabin interiors with a cost-effective approach while keeping an “Italian” design detail-driven line. This approach comes to life in one of ABC International’s latest projects with Turkish carrier Pegasus Airlines. After its successful collaboration with Small Planet Airlines and Meridiana (now Air Italy) for an A320 partition and 767 fixed class divider, ABC International collaborated with Pegasus, a Sabiha Gökçen-based low-cost airline, for the launch of a new stowage box within its product portfolio. The stowage box wax displayed at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg from April 2 to 4. Pegasus Airlines considered replacing galley compartment coffee makers with boxes in order to optimize space for emergency equipment, and relocating them from overhead bins. ABC International was selected to undertake the project because of its capability to design, certify and release new emergency equipment layout, thanks to its EASA part 21J approval. New stowage boxes are made with

ABC International’s new stowage box design on Pegasus Airlines

aeronautical lightweight honeycomb, entirely manufactured in Italy and delivered to customers with EASA Form One, owing to the DO-PO agreement ABC holds with one of its partners. “This latest project opens the door to a new way of thinking which offers airlines new, fast implementation and space-saving solutions,” says the company. “Aircraft cabin interiors may seem too old to renovate until you deal with ABC International.”




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