Leather is an ideal upholstery for luxury items. It’s comfortable, it’s stylish, and it’s commonly associated with quality. This is especially true in the world of air travel. Both airlines and private jets use leather to signify value in this fashion. Business-class seats can be comfy enough, but people shelling out for first-class are going to expect leather.
The issue is that leather takes special procedures to care for. It isn’t just a matter of using detergent and stain removers, as it is with cloth upholstery. You can use odor neutralizers and other basic retail items on cloth upholstery, which is remarkably inexpensive on a commercial scale. You can’t do the same with leather. Leather needs to be carefully maintained, and this isn’t always the simplest task when you’re accounting for the needs of multiple passengers a day. When you’re running under the constraints of a flight schedule, it can be difficult to deal with even the most minor of maintenance tasks if they’ll take you above and beyond the routine. If your aircraft leather requires a full-on repair of some kind, it can be absolutely untenable to handle it with in-house resources. Many simply replace damaged leather items in lieu of repairing or restoring them.
Leather repair is an art unto itself, and the unfortunate truth is that it’s a dying art, which makes proper leather care services hard to find, and keeps leather replacement enticing. In the past decade, there have been four true masters of the craft in the United States, and three of them have already retired. Technicians are presently in training to overcome this labor shortfall and make repair services available again, but it can still be very difficult to find sources for leather repair. Most still simply rely on replacing anything deemed defective, which is hardly the most cost-effective means of going about it, and this has encouraged many to neglect the care of their leather items altogether because they anticipate that replacement will be necessary.
Thankfully, a new crop of revolutionary techniques entering the market is changing this by force and taking the industry by storm. Costs, response times and ETAs are dropping like stones as more leather repair groups bring themselves online. Leather repair and restoration can be challenging to get right, but modern businesses specializing in expedited services to match your needs in aviation are finally standing by to provide the kind of assistance you require.
Technicians trained in modern techniques can now integrate leather restoration and repair operations into the time airlines and other aviation companies already allow for docking. Instead of a plane needing to be grounded for upwards of a week for the exchange of entire seating blocks or worse, repair and restoration can be done while the plane is already down for routine, mid-day maintenance, often on-site. This has two primary consequences: it eschews the replacement paradigm that the shortfall in leatherworking labor resulted in, and it allows you to keep your leather in excellent shape without disrupting your daily operations. It’s exclusively a win for anyone who has suffered the high cost of replacing leather items or the severe disruption that can result from slow work carried out by non-specialist teams.