Design & objets
Air France is at the very top of French air travel, and ATS has been with them for three years, supplying products for the comfort of the passengers on board.
The priority : Air France is more than an airline. Climbing aboard an Air France jet isn’t like boarding a plane, it is like being welcomed into your favorite hotel and it is here that the company really shines. Of course, this is a secondary quality, but it really makes a difference in terms of their reputation. In order to satisfy their customers and make Air France comfort a real bonus for the fliers, the company needs to provide high quality products adapted to their planes.
What is at stake : Air France is limited to the size and quantity of goods and materials that they can take on board, and this is especially true for cellulose-based products (paper etc.). “ATS has become a real problem solver, adapting to all our constraints with speed and flexibility”.
The first time that Air France and ATS worked together was back in 2009. The airline had just launched a call for bids for a set of toys (coloring books, soft toys, bibs, puzzles etc.) on board for babies (0-2 years) and older kids (6-8 years).« We chose ATS because they were really proactive in terms of design », says Christelle Canalès, a buyer for Air France and director of on-board welcome products. She manages all of the product specifications (Marketing, Brand Image, Logistics and Technical), co-ordinates the study panels and selects new suppliers for Air France-KLM.
« They proposed innovative products at attractive prices. We no longer offer customers these items, but our partnership with ATS is as strong as ever. We are working together on other products which demand real skill to develop ».
Air France still entrusts ATS with their paper-based products (paper towels, paper distributors, heavy-duty paper towels, table cloths, lace etc.) and other accessories for their catering operations (ice cream tubs, fruit and bread baskets etc.), and for good reason.
You may think that there’s no need for innovation in paper products, but it requires a certain level of skill and know-how from the supplier to provide a quality product. For Air France, there are so many constraints, from size to logistics to variations in volume, and it is not just important to be able to work with a company that can handle and work within these limits. It’s priceless. « The paper products we have on board are very specific, because not all planes and on-board equipment have the same dimensions », confirms Christelle Canalès. « Take toilet paper, for example. It may surprise you to know that there are different formats in Europe and America. Our supplier must be able to offer an alternative solution. We also have problems with the dimensions of the wheeled table and trolley table-cloths. A lot of European manufacturers no longer have the right production flexibility, and this is where ATS really stands out ».
ATS also provides the airline with a good, and highly appreciated, logistics service. « They can stock our products for us. They adapt to the constraints of how much we can order, and the variations in the volumes we order. They help us manage our stocks and let us know when there’s a shortage… We really appreciate their speed and flexibility. These are the foundations of a good business relationship ».
In terms of creativity too, there’s a real collaboration between Air France and ATS. A major reason ATS were selected was for the work on the ice cream and sorbet tubs, and have been consulted once again, this time to develop customer nightwear (the pajamas handed to the First Class passengers). Here, creativity and style are just as important as manufacturing standards and quality. Stay tuned for more information.