A down to earth idea from the Telford-based manufacturer Ra’alloy is helping airline passengers, wheelchair users and people with reduced mobility fly away to their chosen destinations all over the world.
Ra, which was founded in 2009 with its first order to supply its products for Middle Eastern VIPs, is now changing the way people board aircraft using its its ‘Aviramp’ boarding ramps.
Orders have already been won with Qantas, Qatar Airways, Swissport and Dallas Fortworth Airport, and five new people already taken on to cope with the increase in work.
Backed by support from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), the company has developed three different boarding ramps – ‘lite’, ‘regional’ and ‘continental’ – to ensure all international requirements are met.
Managing Director Graham Corfield said that Ra was first contacted in 2010 by Oslo International Airport about the possibility of designing and manufacturing a disabled access ramp for passengers disembarking aircraft on remote stands.
“The concept was driven by the need to move it quickly and for the slopes to conform with EU regulations, allowing wheelchair users to move themselves up and down the walkway,” he 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 fewer delays and possible cancellation of flights.”
The Manufacturing Advisory Service worked with Ra’alloy from the initial concept, providing strategic guidance, mentoring and new product support along the way.
It played an instrumental role in the company winning the attention of budget airline easyJet, which has been working with the company on the development and modification of ‘Aviramp’.
“We’ve done about £300,000 worth or orders, but I’d expect this to triple over the next twelve months when you look at what we have in the pipeline,” Corfield said.
“80% of this growth will come from abroad and we are already looking at ways where we may set-up international manufacturing operations to support the delivery of ‘Aviramp’ all over the world. America is possibly our first target.”
This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.