Airlines Will Have Larger Fleets After the Pandemic: Airworthy
STORY INLINE POST
Q: After 23 years in the market, how has Airworthy evolved and expanded its product and service line?
A: Airworthy, Inc began operations repairing and manufacturing life jackets. We entered the commercial aerospace industry alongside Northwest Airlines, which first approached us to repair its lifeboats and later its aircraft interiors. After Delta Air Lines acquired Northwest, Airworthy diversified its client base and began working with United Airlines and American Airlines. In 2014, Airworthy acquired a company Bolder Manufacturing in Anaheim, California, that manufactures aircraft interiors.
Q: How did Airworthy stay afloat during the pandemic, considering the disruptions in the aviation industry?
A: During the pandemic, we entered the train market to replace the revenue lost from the aviation industry. Train interior manufacturing now represents 40 percent of our revenue and we have contracts with most train companies across the world. At the beginning, we were only in the US market but recently we signed a contract to collaborate with the Mayan Train project. We will also participate in the construction of the fast train in the UK and other trains in Sweden and Dubai.
Q: What factors have boosted your success in the train market?
A: The US started investing in train infrastructure when former President Barack Obama’s administration launched a project to provide alternatives to flying. Although their infrastructure was ready, they lacked suppliers. To enter this market, we had to increase our offering and step out of our comfort zone. The train industry does not have as many requirements as aerospace, allowing us to produce less expensive products with similar functionalities. Having our own suppliers allows us to choose the best technology and adapt it to the needs of the US market.
Q: How are Airworthy’s operations in the US distributed?
A: We have three main facilities in the US. Most US airlines have bases in the east of the country. To approach them, we launched operations in Florida. During aircraft service, interiors are the final part to be renewed. We only get three days to complete our work. Being close to the airlines allows us to reduce costs and finish our work in a short time. The Anaheim facilities were opened because of its privileged location.
Q: Why did Airworthy start operations in Mexico?
A: Airworthy wants to expand outside of the US and Canada and Mexico was the next step to start expanding to Latin America. We started with small projects, repurposing aircraft interiors to address the current needs of the airlines. For example, we can transform their kitchens so they can offer different types of service i.e. snacks and beverage only, or hot meals. Airlines continuously invite us to discuss aircraft maintenance, which is how we started working with Aeroméxico.
Q: What opportunities has Airworthy identified in Mexico, taking into consideration the country’s aircraft fleet?
A: The pandemic impacted Mexico’s aviation sector more than the US industry. In the latter, airlines received financial support from the government, which they used to retire older airplanes and replace them with new ones. In Mexico, the government did not support the industry in a similar way as USA, so some airlines had to declare bankruptcy, such as Aeroméxico.
Volaris was not as affected because it is part of Frontier Airlines, which allows it to receive fewer or more aircraft as needed. Viva Aerobus also survived the pandemic because it is a growing airline.
Aeroméxico is implementing a fleet recovery strategy. We are participating in the interior redesign of the 26 Boeing 737 Max aircraft the airline ordered. Aeroméxico will have a larger fleet than it had before the pandemic, which will also likely happen with other airlines in Mexico.
Q: How does Airworthy prepare for the emerging needs of airlines in regard to maintenance?
A: We have a customer-centric approach and we listen to our clients, although clients in this industry usually do not know what they want until we show them our solutions. We also showcase our products and services at important aerospace events, such as the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, MRO Shows, CCMA Latin American Airlines Symposium and Aerospace shows globally i.e. Dubai, Paris and Farnborough Air Shows and looking to expand in participating more actively in Aerospace events in Mexico.
Airworthy, Inc. is a global supplier of aircraft interior solutions focused on speed and quality. The company operates three full-service 24/7 facilities in the US.