It is “tremendously less expensive” to refurbish an existing aircraft seat than to buy new. Indeed, new seats today “are five or six times more expensive”, says Interface Aviation Inc director of sales Peter Shamy. That’s why his employer – one of a handful of airplane seat repair and refurbishment centers in the United States – is doing robust business.
Located in Hollister, California, on the edge of Silicon Valley, Interface Aviation serves airlines worldwide. Tens of thousands of seats are stacked to the roof at Interface Aviation, and these will be modified to meet newer standards. In a fascinating Bloomberg report on the business, Shamy tells the journalist that a set of three seats would cost “a couple thousand dollars” so you are talking “six figures for a plane”, but you can easily spend a lot more than that. “Leather would be three times the cost of fabric.”
Asked why there is so much demand for refurbished seats, Shamy notes, “There is a tendency now for people to go with what we call a high-density seating configuration, which is another word for the sardine, where they just pack people in. You sit there like this for an hour and then you get out and hopefully you can still stand up.”
Shamy even shares a story about buying interiors from South America, and discovering that seats had been drilled in unusual places for cocaine searches. See the Bloomberg video report below.