The “Approved Seat Supplier” agreement was signed between Airbus and TSI Seats at a ceremony held on November 20, 2019 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Istanbul with the participation of senior executives from Turkish Airlines (THY), Turkish Technic, Kibar Holding and an Airbus delegation. French Consulate officials of Istanbul were also present at the ceremony where a supplier agreement was signed with Airbus on program and seat basis.
TSI Seats, a joint venture of Kibar Holding, Turkish Airlines and Turkish Technic, successfully completed 7 challenging inspections and evaluations in April 2019 by Airbus in order to become a “Buyer Furnished Equipment (BFE)” Supplier of Airbus’ A320, A330 and A350 XWB Programs and to be featured in the Airbus BFE Catalog.
In the BFE type of purchase method, the airline company that orders new aircraft purchases from the aircraft seat supplier. In such purchases, aircraft manufacturers send a catalog of approved seat suppliers to airline companies. In this way, the airline companies that order new aircraft have the opportunity to select the seat supplier as well as the model of the seat from these catalogs.
BFE Catalog is the name of the catalog of Airbus by which Airbus approves and starts to use specific companies as its suppliers after various inspections and evaluations. Of course, becoming featured in the catalog is the first step; in order to remain in this catalog, the approved suppliers must perform to the satisfaction of Airbus. TSI Seats is the first company that achieved inclusion in the BFE Catalog on its own scale. In January 2020, the new Airbus BFE Catalog will include TSI Seats` Skysofa and Epianka Economy Class seats for Airbus A350 XWB, A330 and A320 series aircraft. The Elesa S will also be featured in the future products section of the catalog. TSI Seats` first Business Class product, the Royalux model seat, will be featured in the catalog after the completion of its certification process.
In2019 Air Bus allocated a substantial budget in their projects for TSI Seats. Thanks to the BFE Catalog, it is expected that TSI Seats will increase their recognition and accessibility in the industry. TSI Seats, Turkey`s first and only aircraft seat manufacturer, aims to take place amongst the top 5 companies in the global market by 2023. Considering the volume from the Airbus BFE Catalog Project in total aircraft orders, the expected increase in retrofit projects and other projects of the company, TSI Seats expects to achieve an export volume exceeding US$ 100 million in 2023.
In fact, the successful collaboration between Airbus and TSI Seats dates back to September 2015. During this period, TSI Seats first delivered its Skysofa Economy Class seats to Airbus for the Airbus A330, followed by Epianka seats for the first Airbus A321neo ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex configuration) in 2018. Currently, TSI Seats aims to complete the delivery of Economy Class seats for Airbus A350 XWB aircraft before the end of 2019. Such seats will feature 13.5-inch wide screens as part of the cabin entertainment system. With the Approved Seat Supplier Agreement signed, TSI Seats is now eligible to take part in the Airbus BFE Catalog as an approved supplier of Economy Class seats for the A350 XWB, A330 and A320 aircraft family.
During the signing ceremony speeches were delivered by TSI Seats General Manager Suat Sağıroğlu, Kibar Holding CEO and TSI Seats Vice President of the Executive Board Haluk Kayabaşı and Airbus Vice President Tim Sommer.
Speaking at the ceremony TSI Seats General Manager Suat Sağıroğlu underlined that TSI and Airbus, “an international pioneer in the aerospace industry” has had a successful cooperation since 2015. He went on saying that TSI had delivered its first line fit project to the A330 and later on in 2018 the first A321neo ACF was equipped with TSI Seats Economy Class aircraft seats. “We will deliver Economy Class seats for the A350 before year end” Sağıroğlu added. In his address, Sağıroğlu noted that TSI places great importance on R&D studies that focus on the development of high value-added products and technologies and said, “TSI also increases the quality and reliability by using digital technology at every stage. Safety, quality and sustainability are of great importance to TSI Seats.” Sağıroğlu also stressed that with their new Business Class seats, that are in progress, they aim to make a big change in the market. “We closely follow the trends in the market and do our best to develop seats which meet customer demands and preferences…” Regarding their success in being able to be featured in the Airbus BFE Catalogue following the completion of Airbus’ 7 different and important assessments in less than 8 months, Sağıroğlu said, “We have taken great steps in such a short time and achieved a turning point… We are very pleased to have been placed in the Airbus BFE Catalogue. This latest accomplishment shows how hard we have worked to grow TSI Seats by investing in our employees, and by supporting infrastructure and innovation. Being featured in the Airbus catalog will expand our reach and accessibility to the world’s leading airlines and ensures our growth in the market.”
Haluk Kayabaşı, CEO of Kibar Holding also made a speech at the signing ceremony and said, “Today, an ‘Approved Seat Supplier Agreement’ is being signed between Airbus, one of the important international references of the aviation industry and TSI Seats, a joint venture of Kibar Holding, Turkish Airlines (THY) and Turkish Technic. With this agreement, TSI Seats will be the first company to be featured in the catalog of approved suppliers. Thanks to the catalog, TSI is expected to increase its recognition and accessibility in the sector. This catalog not only provides visibility to suppliers but also gives the prestige of being approved by Airbus. Taking into consideration the share of the Airbus Catalog project in total aircraft orders, the expected increase in retrofit projects and other projects of TSI Seats, we aim to reach an export figure over US$ 100 million in 2023.”
In his address, Airbus Vice President, Procurement (responsible for the procurement of seats and cabin electronics) Tim Sommer noted that in 2019 Airbus is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a company and added, “When we started, we were nobody, but we were nobody with a big dream. Today we are one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers. We have a backlog of 7,500 aircraft, and again this year, we’re going to deliver a record number of aircraft to the market. But this success is not an exclusive success. About 80% of the aircraft come from our external partners and our suppliers on site. So, all that we did is a joint success!” Sommer underlined that if they want to continue in the business, they need strong partners to grow together with them.
“So, what do we really look for? We try to see who we can work in the business. The first point that I would like to stress is trust and reliability. The second point is about innovation. We would not be where we are today if we had not continuously innovated and improved our aircraft in the last 50 years. In the last years, the cabin has become more and more strategic, and there is more focus place on innovating the cabin. There`s a lot of interesting stuff happening in the cabin, but essentially we focus on our own efficiency, so we look for how can we make more efficient use of space, how can we improve on weight, how can we improve cruise efficiency for living and operating in the aircraft. We look, of course, always on how we can improve passenger comfort, how can we develop new services, which benefit customers and passengers. In the last years, we have looked into how we can provide more and more connected integrated cabin experiences in our airlines for passengers. With all these challenges ahead, I’m not necessarily always looking at the big players in the industry. We have some big players, and they have their merits, but I believe most of the innovation and the breakthroughs in the coming years will not come from the big groups. I see a lot of young hungry players in the market who have real potential to disrupt the industry. So, it’s about reliability, trust, innovation and then from our perspective it`s about going global, being global,” Sommer said.
Sommer pointed out that when they (Airbus) started, they were essentially a European company focusing on a few core countries. But today, they are no longer just a European company, they are a global company serving a global customer base and rely on a global network of suppliers, and added: “If we want to continue delivering and building the best aircraft in the world, we will only succeed by uniting the best capabilities of external partners of suppliers around the world.”
Regarding TSI Seats’ accomplishment in becoming featured in the Airbus BFE Catalogue, Sommer said, “I must say you are pretty well-positioned in that. First, you are based in the country in a region, which has great potential for others. You have demonstrated clear potential and ambition to grow in the last years, and you have a great foundation in the team which you have and the facility you have, which I had the pleasure to visit this morning. But I must say that the DNA, the processes, the industrial set, etc. are still quite small, but it is very much state of the art. So, today I think you have a good basis on which you can scale and which you can grow your business.”
Underlining the fact that Airbus’ relationship with TSI Seat is not a new one and it dates back to 2015 with the A330, moving into A320neo in 2018 and in a few weeks TSI will also be part of the A350 program SOMMER said, “So essentially, you are already in all our key programs. So, what is important now is that we take our relationship to the next level. And the teams are working very hard on that. So, Airbus’ requirements are very stringent, very complex, and especially for a smart small company, very hard to fulfill. So, I think it deserves a small round of applause for the team who was working on this in the last months and years and have allowed us to come to the point where we are today. From January 2020, you will be visible and offerable to customers all over the world.”
Following the speeches, the Approved Seat Supplier Agreement was signed by Airbus Vice President SOMMER and TSI Seats Vice President KAYABAŞI. The ceremony ended with a photo session