May 21 2019  |  People

"We are passionate about what we do." - Kaelis CEO

By PAX International


Federico Heitz, CEO of Kaelis

Below are some portions of our interview with Kaelis' CEO, Federico Heitz, for our May 2019 amenities digital issue. It has been edited for space and clarity.

Keeping budget in mind

Smart and beautiful design is not necessarily more expensive than no design at all - it can sometimes even be the opposite. The key is to have a state-of-the-art, dedicated team that works on tailor-made solutions, ideal for the specific customer and their budget restrictions.

We serve every type of carrier, from LCCs to 5-star Skytrax airlines, so the needs and requirements obviously are completely different.

For instance, we designed an amazing Economy Class amenity kit for Air Astana, which passengers really appreciated; they didn't leave them in the airplane and even reused some of its items.

Another example of good design and innovation for Economy service is our new tray that holds a handheld device. This is a great solution for fleets that do not have screens integrated into the seats and airlines that do not want to invest in a retrofit.

Beyond passenger service

As a company, we care for the passengers onboard as well as the crew. A perfect example of this philosophy is our unique tea and coffee pot: Kofu the result of three years of hard work, design and testing in partnership with one of our key customers. For more information, please visit our website.

As travel is a part of most people's lives today, we have integrated this into the travel experience. We have developed a food-serving tray that has the capability of holding a phone or tablet so passengers will no longer have to juggle around with their devices while they watch their content and enjoy their meal. Keeping up with the latest trends and technologies has always been important for us and we will continue to innovate and surprise our customers, passengers and crew.

A sustainable frame of mind

Sustainability is not limited to only one sort of product. We make sure to have sustainable options across our entire range.

Starting from the Economy Class cabin, we have entered partnerships with some of the most professional and technology-savvy manufacturers of bio-plastics in order to offer best-in-class products to our customers while keeping up with the fast-changing environment. Cornstarch-based cups and cutlery (as well as paper cups for hot drinks coated in these materials instead of conventional plastic) will be a reality for airlines in Europe a year from now, and for the rest of the world maybe sooner than expected. We welcome inquiries and provide consultancy to help overcome concerns related to this new material, such as its more limited shelf life and the careful storage and transportation that is needed in comparison to plastics.

In Business Class, we have even more freedom to use our creative skills. One best-selling choice is our disposable cotton linen, which is stylish and has been demonstrated to save resources in the long term as washing and transportation are no longer required; it is returned to nature through natural or artificial composting. Alternative materials such as wood or bamboo are also recommended and incorporated in most of our concepts.

Finally, in the amenity category, we are constantly on the lookout for materials which save water and/or electricity in the manufacturing process and use recycled materials. Examples are different types of eco-leather or raw materials such as Tyvek paper or (washable) kraft paper which are very versatile and can be used in low-, mid- and high-range items, creating a product that not only looks natural and different but comes from production that is indeed eco-conscious. Often times such products can be recycled and are intended for long-term repeat use. In the end, the target is to save resources and break the habit of consumerism that sees all objects as disposable, and in the process also send a message to the public that says, ┬ĘPlease reuse and please recycle."

Homegrown pride

Spain has not only a centralized location but also a centralized time zone to provide a worldwide service. (Kaelis' headquarters is based in Madrid.) Spain also has a competitive and very qualified workforce and it is also is one of the top worldwide locations for design/innovation. A great example of this is Inditex/Zara group, recognized as global leader and disruptor in its industry. In order to be close to all our customers, Kaelis also has offices and teams in Santiago (Chile), Moscow, Zhuhai, Mumbai and Dubai.

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