14 December 2023

Report Meeting “Recycable or circular interior”

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On December 12th  the meeting of the NAG Special Interest Group (SIG) Aircraft Interiors “recyclable or circular interior” took place. We were happy to be the guests at Proponent Netherlands B.V. in Alphen a/d Rijn. Thanks to Rodolph Italianer, VP Business Innovation and Ronald Verkade, Product Manager of Proponent for hosting the meeting.

After a welcome by Rodolph Italianer, Jan Verbeek, vice-chairman at NAG/Senior Business Consultant Industrial Production Management did an introduction with the goal and agenda of the meeting. Kristian van Drimmelen, International Cooperation Officer NAG and Peter Vink, professor TU Delft Industrial Design Engineering gave feedback on respectively the Airbus scouting session recyclable interiors and a visit to Embraer. The efforts of this SIG align with the activities under the Growthfund Luchtvaart in Transitie and the National Collective Business Plan which respectively aim to strengthen the aerospace ecosystem and international collaboration and to create focus in our business development efforts to turn knowledge into business. The latter is joint public private partnership with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

A first conclusion was that the aviation market will double the coming years but we need to act now to make this more sustainable – both on the propulsion side but also making production, cabin operations and maintenance sustainable and finally circular. This will help to assure our license to operate in Europe but also create new business models, and scalable and exportable value propositions, since the majority of the growth will be in Asia and Africa.

To identify potential cooperations on business development for a recycable and circular cabin interior and cabin operations a workshop was conducted to position all the participants in the aviation value chain – from material suppliers to end of life solution providers and from aircraft manufacturers and operators to knowledge providers. This helped to see new opportunities for future cooperation in several channels.

An obvious channel is the supply of materials, parts and components to aircraft manufacturers, completion centers, aircraft operators for MRO and upgrades. The Netherlands has an almost complete value chain in place – from (new biobased and recyclable) materials to end product, but we have to cooperate with aircraft manufacturers and 1st tier suppliers abroad.

The need for development of repairs and end of life solutions shows also a reversed value chain, with new potential and new players ready to enter the market. The turnaround time of interior parts is far higher than the basic airframe, with the a key role for carpets and wear and tear parts.

Making cabin operations more sustainable is, for the manufacturing industry, a mainly new topic. Food and health regulations create sometimes conflicting requirements with the need for more sustainable solutions.

We concluded the workshop with identifying subgroups that want to cooperate in response of the Airbus, Embraer and Boeing needs, the current needs from KLM and Transavia in the field of maintenance & servicing and of repairs and end of life solutions and on the development of business propositions from current knowledge positions around new materials. Typical barriers in the current business models were also identified.

In other words: we had a very fruitful meeting. The meeting ended with a network drink which was used to continue in making links with people you normally do not meet every day, but who happen to work on the same topics.