Telford manufacturer seeks to revolutionise airplane access

Posted on 12 Jul 2013

Access manufacturer Ra'alloy is looking to adapt the way passengers board aeroplanes all over the world as they win orders from major airline companies.

Originally a supplier for Middle Eastern VIPs when formed in 2009, the company’s ‘Aviramp’ has received increased interest from major airlines for it’s accessibility to wheelchair users and passengers with reduced mobility.

Ra’alloy has won contracts with Qantas, Qatar Airways, Swissport and Dallas Fortworth Airport. The increased demand for products has lead the company to take on five new members of staff, increasing their workforce to 16, with company turnover on course to reach £1.1m this year.

The concept for the company’s boarding ramps began to form after they received a request from Oslo International Airport for a disabled access ramp back in 2010.

The design was driven by the need for quick passenger transfer in line with EU regulations.

Graham Corfield, Ra’alloy managing director, said:

“This is where ‘Aviramp’ came into the equation. It was exactly what they were looking for and even incorporated unique slip resistant flooring.

“The results have been impressive. People with reduced mobility can disembark with dignity and, on average, general passenger flow times are 30% quicker meaning less delays and possible cancellation of flights.”

Backed by support from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), the company has also developed three different boarding ramps – ‘lite’, ‘regional’ and ‘continental’ – to ensure all international requirements are met.

Mr Corfield said the company had received £300,000 worth of orders which he expects to triple over the next 12 months.

Exports will play a large part in increasing revenue as 80% of growth is expected to come from abroad. Ra’alloy are aiming to set-up international manufacturing operations in order to deliver Aviramp globally.

Support from the MAS has helped facilitate the access manufacturer’s growth. The advisory service worked with Ra’alloy from the initial concept, providing strategic guidance, mentoring and new product support.

The MAS also played an instrumental role in helping the company to gain the attention of budget airline easyJet.

MAS advisor David Nuttall believes the next year will be huge for the business.

“In the aviation sector, the gestation period for new products is extensive with most airlines wanting to see others making the initial investment.

“This is now beginning to happen and our role is changing to support Ra’alloy in understanding the systems and process that it needs in place to be able to cope with the anticipated order intake so it is not swamped.

“The company has a world beating product and MAS will help it make the right decisions with regards to investment to ensure a natural migration from high end bespoke manufacture to high end serial production.”