Aeria Luxury Interiors (Stand 314), the completion and refurbishment division of Singapore’s ST Aerospace, is touting here at MEBA 2014 this summer’s nose-to-tail executive interior installation on a green Boeing wide-body aircraft. Ron Soret, Aeria’s general manager for completions, declined to disclose the type of aircraft or customer, citing confidentiality agreements.
Here at the show, three of Aeria’s representatives are on hand to answer any questions about its experience in executive-configured airliner completions, maintenance and refurbishment, and the company is also showcasing a new booth created specifically for MEBA.
Chris Mason, Aeria’s v-p sales, Boyd Hunsaker, director of sales and marketing, and Juleen Sanftner, marketing manager, are here at Aeria’s booth and have tablet devices pre-loaded with cabin outfitting plans. “If someone wants to see a floor-plans presentation, we’ll be able to provide that,” Soret said. If prospective customers have ideas of their own they’d like to see the company’s designers work with, “We can provide a floor plan within five days,” Soret said. “We can respond very quickly if someone wants to see something personalized for their use.”
This year’s show also marks “the first time Aeria will be displaying at MEBA with a custom booth,” Soret said. The new stand, created specifically for MEBA, features large-screen monitors displaying presentations, renderings and animation of the company’s work and facilities, spotlighting both its completions and refurbishment capabilities. “There’s a semi-private feel that makes people feel comfortable, so we can carry on a conversation,” Soret said of the new booth. The display incorporates a different color scheme, styling and design than the booth used for the NBAA or EBACE shows, hinting at the company’s design versatility.
Aeria’s message to MEBA attendees is simple, said Soret: “We have a very talented in-house design team with experience creating interiors for Middle Eastern clients.” Asked about any design preferences shared by clients in the region, Soret said, “The majority of the interiors we see coming out of the Middle East are all very high quality and opulent,” citing “more metal work with very rich, high-end material” among the popular touches.
While known for its completion work on executive-configured airliners, Soret said Aeria also aims “to leverage the large MRO network [parent company] ST Aerospace has throughout the world, to grow the maintenance and refurbishment business for VIP airplanes in the Asia-Pacific region.” ST Aerospace’s recently completed Singapore facility will serve as Aeria’s regional base. “We think this is a good way to cultivate and build relationships with customers, and if they make the decision to trade up to a new aircraft, hopefully they’ll consider Aeria among the candidates to perform the completion,” he said. Soret reported the company has recently “secured a couple of maintenance projects and a couple of refurbishment projects,” but declined to provide details.
Meanwhile, Aeria has enhanced its in-house fabrication capabilities with the addition of 3D printing technology, installing some of the largest 3D printers available in its San Antonio, Texas facilities. “We use them for [making] proof-of-concept parts for design and engineering, for building static design features for the airplanes, and to build production parts,” Soret said. “We’re finding lots of uses for this capability. A lot of these interiors are one-offs, and we’ll only use one part, be it a design element in the cabin or a decorative feature in the ceiling. In lieu of expensive tooling, we’re able to print the part with a 3D printer.”
The 3D technology also speeds up completions. On a recent BBJ completion, the seat armrests were all made using the printer, saving a significant amount of time. “The more we use it, the more uses we’re finding for it,” Soret said. “The applications on VIP interiors are pretty much unlimited.”
Aeria has come a long way since the brand was launched at the Singapore Air Show in 2012. Now a Boeing approved completion center, the company is adding 14,000 sq ft of shop space and preparing to break ground on a 7,000-sq-ft design showroom with a sales and marketing office at its headquarters. “The goal with that is to enhance the customer experience,” Soret said, “for the customer to be able to have a discussion with the design team, and see carpet samples, veneer and wood finishes, upholstered seats and amenities like China and flatware.”
The center may also showcase CMS and IFE systems, Soret said, adding, “We haven’t completely defined what we’re going to display in the showroom.” But one thing Soret is certain about: “We’re going to have a very strong presence in VIP interior completions, backed by a strong company in ST Aerospace. We’re going to be a major player in this market.”