Launched only last April, the product is well on the way to capture a substantial portion of the aircraft refurbishment and modification market by delivering value-added services to airlines and MRO providers. A promising business since the number of aircraft crossing the global skies is constantly rising. But also, because passenger airlines, for competitive reasons tend to refurbish their cabins more often than done in the past.
Logistics giant Kuehne & Nagel is not known for engaging in projects that send balance sheet figures south. Consequently, Senior VP Aerospace Erik Goedhart knew right from the launch of “KN
InteriorChain,” announced last April during the Hamburg, Germany-held Aircraft Interiors Expo trade show that the pressure was on him and his team to deliver satisfying results right from the
Main work package
Seven months later, initial successes are visible with an agreement with budget carrier easyJet to modify and refurbish 39 of their Airbus A320 sub-fleet. According to Mr Goedhart the work includes equipping the A320s with six extra seats, installing a new rear galley, modernize parts of the forward cabin, add an additional rear window and assemble two new toilets also in the rear section of the jetliners. These and similar assignments are subject to a lead time of 12 days per A320. Jobs that will be executed by specialists such as SR Technics, Lufthansa Technik, Storm Aviation and Adria Tehnika at five different European locations.
Everything but flying
Within this framework, Kuehne & Nagel’s contractual obligation is to grant comprehensive logistics support from beginning to end. “Our KN InteriorChain product comprises a modular package that integrates tasks such as supplier order management, multimodal transportation and warehousing as well as value-added services like kitting, packaging, rework and disposal,” illustrates Dutch national Erik Goedhart. He adds to this that passenger airlines tend to refurbish their cabins much more often than done in the past, where it took 10 to 15 years on average before interiors were modernized. This they are doing to distinguish themselves from competitors and avoid falling behind.
Monitoring and management of material flows across all means of transportation and warehousing is guaranteed through an integrated online ordering, cargo management and material management system. All steps are based on the company’s global aerospace network, its state-of-the-art IT infrastructure ensuring connectivity and visibility, competence centers with 24/7 support and, its AOG Desk structure, reads a KN release.
Substantial financial contributions
K&N is no newcomer in the aerospace spare parts business, “which we have been doing for a long time, performed by well trained and certified staff,” Mr Goedhart tells. This was acknowledged by the industry as his enterprise has won multiple awards for innovations. Tangible results are “significantly growing revenues,” (Goedhart). Unluckily, he keeps his lips tight when asked about the financial contribution of his Aerospace division to K&N’s overall figures. But he indicates that these might increase before this year draws to a close: “We did come to terms with a large Latin American and also a major Asian carrier for refurbishing their fleet’s cabins and will provide further information once the accord can be disclosed.”
To ensure first class service in relation to the newly launched “KN InteriorChain,” the logistics behemoth cooperates with hand-picked certified partners. “We even set up a preferred carrier list for our multiple global Aerospace activities and a separate one for the delicate transport of aircraft engines,” the manager says.
And – rounding off matters – he delivers his unit’s formula for success: “You need to be global, transport low volumes consisting of high value, have dedicated and well-trained staff, and manage all processes through a state-of-the-art IT system.”
It’s as easy as that.