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What are the success factors of is a marketplace for buying and selling aircraft passenger seats. Sellers list their used and retired seats in a simple step by step process. Buyers search for offers and filter, sort or compare results to request proposals online. 






Thomas Bulirsch is founder and CEO of aviationscouts GmbH and operator of the online marketplace, which is effectively an eBay for surplus aircraft seats. Here, Thomas gives some pointers on how to quickly and easily sell your used aircraft interiors.

1/ Think ahead

The resale potential of an aircraft interior begins with the original purchase. Make sure you buy something with a good remarket history – you can check out popular and in-demand seats by looking at the aviationgate notice board or at our top offers. Younger and lighter-weight seats from the major manufacturers, such as BE Aerospace, Recaro and Zodiac, undoubtedly have the best resale value. Also, we’re seeing a good market for all-economy narrowbody configurations. Single- class cabins (180 seats on an Airbus A320 / 189 on a Boeing 737) sell very well, because business class seats tend to be more bespoke. In many cases aviationgate will even buy popular seats directly from the seller.

2/ Have a plan

Set clear timelines from the moment the interior is removed; money in the bank is far better than money spent on storage costs. Dig out technical documentation for the sale as soon as possible and research market prices - the aviationgate team is happy to assist you with a quick evaluation. So all the information is ready to go as soon as the seats are removed. Responsiveness is key, so assign specific responsibility for the sale to a member of staff who is able to reply quickly to potential buyers once the listing goes live. Typically, aircraft interior resales are handled by procurement, or technical managers.

3/ Show off your product

There’s nothing worse than a great product that is poorly showcased. Include good photos of the seats from all angles – the front, back and sides – up against a neutral background. The better your pictures are, the more likely you are to attract buyers. Ultimately, your mission is to make the buyer’s decision easier and save them time. Aviationgate can offer 360-degree photography, if needed. The physical condition of the seats is not really an issue, as in most cases they can be refurbished to a very high standard.

4/ Technical data is vital

Make sure you upload all the necessary technical information, as inadequate documentation and traceability (such as missing seat tags) can slow down and even lose a sale. Typically, you need to provide the component maintenance manual (CMM) which shows the history of the parts, the layout of passenger accommodations (LOPA), declaration of design and performance (DPD) and a flammability test report (FTR) for the cushions and covers. Many carriers also ask for a non-incident statement. The more information you give, the easier the product is to sell quickly, as it avoids lengthy back-and-forth exchanges between the buyer and the seller. Listings with the most data are also frequently picked as ‘top offers’ on aviationgate, giving you greater exposure for no additional cost. This could include search and newsletter priority, as well as a product-specific email push for larger sales of 10-15 shipsets. Free technical help is available for listings and in some cases aviationgate will post your seats to the site on your behalf free of charge.

5/ Use your network

Make your industry colleagues aware that you have a product to sell by emailing them a link to the listing, or alerting them via LinkedIn. Aviationgate has a button specifically for this purpose. It’s always easier doing business with people you know.


4 questions you MUST ask before buying used aircraft seats

1/ What are you looking for?

This seems obvious, but it’s important. To get the right seats, you need to have a clear idea of what you want. What will your layout of passenger accommodations (LOPA) look like? How many seats are you looking to put on the aircraft? At what pitch and comfort level? Will you offer inflight entertainment (IFE) and seat-back power? What are the FAA Technical Standard Orders (TSO) requirements, e.g. 9G/16G? Once you know this, you can establish which seat models fit your LOPA. For example, seats from 737s and 757s have the same rail and can sometimes be interchangeable. The same applies to A320 family aircraft. Aviationgate is able to proof LOPAs and even create them for you, if needed.


2/ What if I can’t find what I want?

There’s a common misconception that aircraft seats can be sourced by part number, when in reality seat part numbers are more or less unique. It’s best to search based on your criteria. If you can’t find what you are looking for, drop a message by using the chat function. As well as showing sellers what you are looking for, we will push out your request to about 60-70 partners who trade in surplus interiors.


3/ What condition are the seats in?

Seats come in a variety of states, ranging from ‘as removed’ to fully serviceable. It’s easy to overlook the additional costs beyond the original purchase price. Do you just need new cushions and covers? Does IFE need adding or removing? Remember to factor in overhaul, spare parts and logistical costs. Make sure you check these up front to avoid any surprises. Aviationgate’s EASA Part 145 and 21J partners can take seats ‘as removed’ and bring them up to fully serviceable condition, including certification and installation. We can also install and remove IFE.


4/ How soon can they be on the aircraft?

People often think that in-stock seats can be with them the next day, but they are usually in ‘as removed’ condition. The seats can easily be brought up to a very high standard, but timelines vary depending on the work needed and where the seats are physically located. In the simplest cases, a quick service – cleaning, structural assessment and recertification - can be done within a week for a shipset. In other cases, it can take four to six weeks to bring a seat up to standard and another four to six weeks to ship by sea freight. You need to factor in about three months’ lead time, or pay a premium to send them by expedited air freight. We have a worldwide network of partners that are able to move aircraft seats.


Aftermarket Seating Article in the Aircraft Interiors Magazine 2018 


aviationscouts GmbH
Wendenstrasse 40
96215 Lichtenfels

CEO Thomas Bulirsch, Dipl.-Betriebswirt (FH)
Amtsgericht Coburg: HRB 3886
VAT-ID: DE814074300

D-U-N-S® Number: 313530299
CAGE code: CK626

Phone: + 49 (0)9571 947 907 0
Fax:      + 49 (0)9571 947 907 25

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