Aircraft interior refurbishment - the carcass of a plane is pictured.
Matthew Bean

When you’re traveling on a business aircraft or private jet for pleasure, the smoothness of your ride depends on a few factors. Of course, a knowledgeable pilot and well-maintained aircraft will get you from point A to B. But when you think of your experience, what else do you notice?

The aircraft seats might recline, and the upholstery might be soft and comfortable. You may also notice that the muffled wind and engine sounds are quiet enough to let you fall asleep.  

These are only a few features of a quality aircraft interior—functional seats, updated upholstery, and soundproofing—that jet and aircraft owners should focus on with aircraft interior refurbishment.

What is Aircraft Interior Refurbishment?

Aircraft interior refurbishment is a subtle or extensive update of an aircraft interior necessary for proper aircraft operations. The process may involve a few updates or a complete redo of various interior facets of an aircraft, like seat upholstery, entertainment systems, windows and window covers, lighting, armrests, composite panels, carpeting, countertops, cabinets, and more. 

The right aircraft interior refurbishment will act as a complete makeover for your plane, offering the appearance of a brand new aircraft even for older models. Perhaps that’s why the world’s aircraft refurbishment market predicts robust growth from now till 2031!

Why Should Aircraft Interior Refurbishment Be Performed?

Aircraft maintenance is necessary for an airplane’s structures, mechanics, and avionics — the aircraft interior needs care too. Here are some typical reasons for aircraft interior refurbishment:

Style and Aesthetic

If you’ve purchased an older airplane, you might want to make your interior look more in line with your personal style —  after all, it’s one of the most significant investments you’ll ever make. Aircraft refurbishment companies like Southern Air Custom Interiors will spend one-on-one time with you to ensure custom interior refurbishment encompasses your style, from colors to textures. 

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Comfort and Safety 

Over time, aircraft interior features may experience wear and tear that affect the passenger’s comfort and safety. For example, a small scratch on an airplane window’s interior side could turn into a broken window if left unaddressed.

Resale Value 

Aircraft interior refurbishment strengthens the appeal of your aircraft for charter services or resale. Ripped upholstery and a stained carpet won’t make a good impression on a potential buyer or charter flier

Technology Updates

Aircraft interiors are constantly evolving. From LED energy-efficient lighting to automated window dimming, refurbishment can help you keep your interior technology up-to-date and trendy

Cabin Space Optimization

Aircraft interiors aren’t always built with optimal capacity optimization in the floor plan. Some floor plan adjustments can be made through refurbishment, though these are usually more extensive procedures that require some evaluation to ensure alignment with FAA regulations

What is the Interior of a Jet Made from?

Jet interiors are made from various materials, like composite panels with honeycomb core and thermoset resins for floors, ceilings, cargo liners, and walls, though some have brown finishes to resemble wood. Other materials include aluminum for seat pedestals and rails, as well as bins and brackets. 

Upholstery must be made from fabrics that are durable, water-repellant, flame- and oil-resistant, like polyester, synthetic leather, leather, and vinyl. 

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How Often Should Jet Interior Refurbishment be Performed?

The frequency of refurbishment depends on how extensive the interior work needed is. 

Most aircraft refurbishment companies will agree that you should line up a refurbishment with other scheduled maintenance to reduce your jet’s downtime, thus ensuring you don’t lose valuable flight hours and customers. 

Scheduling Interior Refurbishment Along With Other Maintenance

A Inspections: If you only have a few minor interior changes to take care of (the odd ripped seat, for example), you might schedule it during an “A” inspection. 

“A” checks are the most frequent type of maintenance check that occur every 200-300 flights, involving an inspection of:

  • Brake pressure 
  • Emergency lights
  • Landing wheel lubrication

C Inspections: If you would like to change your upholstery, you might consider scheduling it during a “C” check, which takes place every 2 years. “C” checks entail an extensive inspection of an aircraft’s structures. 

D Inspections: Finally, if you have extensive interior work that needs to get done, you might schedule it during a “D” check. “D” checks take place every 6-10 years and entail a comprehensive repair and inspection, aimed at resolving corrosion and damage. 

Since “D” checks take about 4-6 weeks to complete, it’s a great time to schedule an aircraft refurbishment. Replacing carpets, cabinets and upholstery, or repainting could take a similar amount of time.  

Refurbishment Before You Sell Your Aircraft

Before you sell your aircraft, your interior should be updated and neutral enough to appeal to a wide variety of buyers. If you’ve added a lot of personal flair to your jet, you might disqualify yourself from potential buyers’ sights because they want something more relatable. 

And of course, any damaged interior items like carpeting, cabinets, or upholstery should be repaired via refurbishment before showing your plane to potential buyers. 

Do’s and Don’ts in Aircraft Interior Refurbishment

Here are some tips from industry experts to help ensure a smooth interior refurbishment for your plane. 

Aircraft Interior Refurbishment Do’s

Plan Early

As a private jet owner, your goal is to minimize your jet’s downtime so that you can make the most of your investment. Planning refurbishment early can ensure you don’t run into scheduling issues and maximize your plane’s flying time. 

Invest in Custom Pillows

Pillows are a relatively cost-effective way to add warmth and texture to your interior. The fabric and color can make all the difference in the overall style, and custom pillows can add more comfort to the ride. 

Aircraft Interior Refurbishment - luxury private jet with custom cushions.

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Consider Lighting Temperature and Colors

Whether it’s warm or cool lighting, your entire cabin color can change depending on your lighting. Consider this when looking at lighting samples with your aircraft refurbishment company.  

Ask About Proportions

The right aircraft refurbishment company will have proportions top of mind when designing interiors. But don’t be afraid to ask them how they are approaching it. Proportions are vital in every aspect, including seat style, carpet pattern, and more. 

Aircraft Interior Refurbishment Don’ts

Don’t Ignore Details

While you can plan for refurbishment at any time (depending on scheduling), take advantage of the specialized attention to your interiors throughout the process. Don’t forget about little details just because you’re in a rush. 

Talk to your aircraft refurbishment company to see how they can add custom details to make your interior stand out. Whether it’s a unique flooring or seamed detail on your seats, the details can sometimes make all the difference!

Don’t Procrastinate Material Selection: Aircraft refurbishment companies will have great advice on the materials you can use for the interior, but you have a say as well. 

Try to think about material options 3-6 months before you enlist the support of a company so that you’re prepared for the possibility of needing to choose different ones. 

The Aircraft Interior Refurbishment Process 

Here are the four stages common to most aircraft interior refurbishment processes. 

  1. Evaluation

Evaluation is the consultancy and aircraft evaluation stage. An aircraft interior company will sit down with you to discuss your style and functionality goals with your refurbishment. 

In this stage, an aircraft interior team would initiate quality control measures, evaluate aircraft condition, and look for any problem areas like scratches or damages. Aircraft interior refurbishment companies should also have all maintenance records, electric plans, flight records, avionics lists, and other relevant paperwork before beginning a job.

  1. Removal of existing interior

Stage 2 entails removing existing aircraft interior material, like seats, carpets, window panels, lower walls, and headliners. The removal team transports the materials off the airplane to the team’s workshop for updating. 

  1. Refurbishing aircraft interior components

After the removal, the removed aircraft components are disassembled, with materials and fabrics stripped off. At Southern Air Custom Interiors, we meet with each client face to face to discuss any updates in the work and better identify their style goals. We confirm your wishes for the interior design and functionality and get started. The work looks different for every private jet owner, from changing cabinet materials to gauge design to lighting. 

Aircraft Interior Refurbishment - a custom bar created by Southern Air Custom Interiors is pictured.

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Reinstallation of aircraft interior

The refurbishment process’s final stage entails reinstalling the previously removed interior components. After the installation, interior teams clean and detail the inside of the aircraft to make it fresh and new for the customer. 

The Best Aircraft Interior Refurbishment Company

The best aircraft refurbishment company showcases quality, experience, adaptability, and customer experience in its service. Southern Air Custom Interiors checks all these boxes, offering individualized service, superior craftsmanship, and decades of combined experience across our team of master technicians. 

We’ve created stellar interiors for a variety of aircraft, including Cessna, Gulfstream, Beechcraft, Dassault, and more. And, we keep legality and safety top priority by ensuring any work is consistent with FAA guidelines. 

Southern Air offers custom services, creating unique designs and finishes for seats, liners, gauges, dashes, and more, with a variety of specifications. Your vision is our top priority, as we continue consulting with you throughout the entire process to help you protect and maintain your greatest investment. 

Plus, the aircraft interior refurbishment cost is more competitive with us than other aircraft refurbishment companies — just contact us for a quote today!

Author

Matthew Bean

Sales and service specialist for Southern Air. Providing guidance and scheduling to business owners across the world on refurbishing and upgrading their aircraft

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