Air New Zealand is to begin printing more than just boarding passes.
The airline has been working with Auckland University of Technology to manufacture small parts of its Business Premier cabins.
A broken fold-down cocktail tray can put up to three seats out of commission for weeks until replacements are found – lost revenue from that costs airlines thousands of dollars.
The ability to instantly print a replacement will mean seats are out of action for hours not weeks.
Air New Zealand Chief Operations Officer Bruce Parton says the move into 3D printing is a no brainer. “Aircraft interiors are made up of tens of thousands of parts. Not only can’t we hold stock of every replacement part we might need, we often only require a small number of units which can be really expensive to produce using traditional manufacturing methods, and can involve frustrating delays while a replacement part is delivered.”
Fireproof testing has been completed and Air New Zealand hope to start installing the 3D printed cocktail trays on its business premier fleet once they receive final regulatory approval.