Many parts of the interiors sector are “embarrassing”, and manufacturers should change their outlook such that they become “unwilling to accept mediocrity“, argues Daniel Kerrison, vice-president of in-flight product at Gulf budget carrier Flydubai.
Speaking at the Passenger Experience Conference which takes place the day before the Aircraft Interiors show gets under way in Hamburg, Kerrison criticised the inability of suppliers to manufacture modern in-flight entertainment systems that keep pace with advances in consumer electronics.
“Flydubai is the only airline that offers high-definition IFE to its passengers,” he says. “Now, that’s good for us, but it’s also embarrassing for the industry that ours is the only system in the world that can deliver it. It’s not rocket science. It’s like delivering colour: we all have it on our TVs in our homes, on our PCs, our tablets, even on our phones. Why can’t we all offer the same solution to our passengers?"
Even the suggestion of passengers using airline-supplied tablet PCs to access IFE content, considered a breakthrough by many in the industry, is not enough, in Kerrison’s view. “When we started in 2009, the iPad did not exist. Since then, a new generation has come out roughly every eight to nine months. Airlines are only now installing that retro technology many of us would not be willing to use in our day-to-day lives,” he says.
Kerrison does not limit his harsh words to IFE suppliers: he also takes a swipe at seat manufacturers, especially those that offer the airline “heavy, ugly seats designed over 10 years ago” that require $1 million in spending on non-refundable engineering costs and a lead time of at least 18 months.
“One said I was very lucky because he had managed to persuade his senior management to sell us their seats,” Kerrison says.
“That’s not what we expect from the interiors sector. The obvious things would be everything to be more lightweight, cheaper and more reliable.
“Those are important, but more important to us is to be able to work with like-minded companies – companies that are willing to challenge the status quo and are unwilling to accept mediocrity. Companies like that are the reasons for our success. We’re evolving. We expect no less from our suppliers.”
Source: Flight Daily News