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Since 2016, AIM Altitude has been part of AVIC International. In 2018, the Chinese company announced the formation of AVIC Cabin Systems, which brought together AIM with FACC, based in Austria, a ceiling/floor interiors and composite structural parts supplier; Fesher Aviation Components (Zhenjiang), in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province that provides aircraft interior panels and composite structural parts; Thompson Aero Seating, in Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Jiatai Aircraft Seating, in Xiangyang, Hubei Province, an economy seat supplier.

Bower says a management team is now forming to drive the growth of the larger business. This will see more integration of commercial and financial activities and, possibly, procurement. Operations integration may be more challenging given the geographical spread of the partners and their separate supply chains.

Of course, AIM and Thomson have been working together for a while but there could be greater cooperation if a project came along with the right mix of requirements for a range of products. One example is with Jiatai Aircraft Seating, which has produced economy seats for the domestic Comac ARJ21 and Xian MA60 and MA600 aircraft, as well as for Airbus and Boeing.

The situation with overhead bin and sidewall capability is slightly different, as FACC is mainly SFE and so customers are OEMs, although it did carry out a refurbishment programme earlier this year for Austrian Airlines under its Passenger Luggage Space Upgrade (above). This will see 36 Airbus A319/320/321 aircraft fitted with modified overhead bins that allow five roller bags instead of three to fit into one overhead stowage compartment.