If an aircraft is subject to relatively heavy usage, its interior typically needs to be replaced every 10 years. As most general aviation aircraft have a life of at least 50 years, this means that the cost of replacing interiors over the lifespan of the aircraft may exceed the initial purchase price by a number of times.
However, it is the interiors that the passengers experience, and for this reason investment in a new high-quality interior will always pay off in terms of the passenger experience and perception of safety. In addition, a good new and clean interior makes an aircraft very much more sellable when it comes to trading it in.
Aircraft interior refurbishment cannot be left to the untrained as they have to comply with rigorous civil aviation certification standards. This relates particularly to the use of materials which have to be approved as fire resistant or fire-proof and to components such as seatbelts, which must be approved by manufactures in terms of their certification specifications. These requirements add enormously to the price of such components. For this reason, it is absolutely essential that only certified aircraft interior installers are used – and most of these are found at the major airports.
However, there are still some family businesses with the necessary specialist skills and materials with Civil Aviation Authority approvals that are not located at the airports. One such in particular is F Gomez upholsterers, who are leatherwork specialists located in downtown Johannesburg.
It is not only the leatherware that is important but also the ability to source new plastic components which are expensive mouldings from the original manufacturer. For these it is best to find a supplier that has such parts in stock as it may take some time and slow the process of a refurbishment down if these parts have to be important on a piecemeal basis from the usual manufacturers in the United States.