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Goodrich takeover set to boost to Middle East interiors market

Posted 7 February 2011 · Add Comment

Acquisition will create new opportunities for completions in the region, writes Brendan Gallagher.

The Middle East’s growing corporate and VIP aircraft interiors capability is expected to benefit from the market entry of Goodrich Corporation, which plans a substantial local presence.

The US systems giant acquired the cabins business of DeCrane Aerospace for around $280m last September and gave its new wares a showing under the Goodrich Interiors banner at December’s Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show in Dubai.

“We want to expand our position in this market,” said seating business development manager Mark Hulan. “We went to MEBA to support the aircraft manufacturers that we supply – Bombardier, Dassault Falcon Jet and Embraer – as well as completion centres Lufthansa Technik and Jet Aviation.”

The platform for an advance into the Middle Eastern business/VIP market is the company’s existing facility in Dubai, which includes among its activities the support of Airbus A380 landing gear and escape slides. “We plan to offer enhanced support for our business/VIP products through this location,” confirmed Hulan.          

Among the products and services showcased in Dubai were a new mood lighting system based on LEDs claimed to yield “the most appealing colours on the market” and integrated touch-screens, full-colour LCD switches and other systems embracing high-definition IFE and cabin management. The company is also offering the full range of furniture, fittings and materials, including seats, divans and tables, composite and plastic mouldings, and fine wood veneers.

The former DeCrane cabin systems operation employs 850 people at six facilities in the USA. Integrating their efforts with Goodrich’s existing capabilities will create a range of products that should meet the needs of even the most exacting completions centre.  

Goodrich was already active in cabin lighting and passenger service units (PSUs) before the acquisition, providing a full suite of products for types like the Bombardier Globals and Challenger 300.

It’s in the domains of in-flight entertainment and seating that the DeCrane deal brings something new to the party. Among the heritage offerings highlighted at MEBA was the Platinum Elite high-definition (HD) video system, which has been available for customer deliveries from the first quarter of 2010. Offering full 1080p HD resolution, the system includes a specially developed Blu-Ray Player and a range of LCD screens. According to the vendor, the use of aircraft-standard video coaxial cable and connections facilitates installation and cuts cost and weight.

Another DeCrane IFE product – Select – was chosen in 2009 for installation in Bombardier Challenger 850 business jets completed by Canada’s Flying Colours. It offers audio/video-on-demand under the control of a touch panel.

Goodrich’s existing seats business serves the military and air transport cabin crew markets. The addition of products from the former DeCrane Aircraft Seating Company extends its reach into the corporate and VIP sectors, and opens the door to a list of blue-chip OEM customers – Agusta, Bell Helicopter, Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault Falcon Jet, Embraer, Eurocopter, Gulfstream, Piaggio, Pilatus, Raytheon and Sikorsky.

The catalogue includes 9g and 16g-certificated VIP seats and divans, and a range of tables. The seats feature flexible floor-track mounting, ergonomic, low-friction controls, multiple headrest styles and shapes, flexible armrests and several different leg-rest designs. There is provision for integration of third-party products such as in-arm tray-tables and IFE screens.

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