INDUSTR Y I NSIGHT
The cost of
preparing a pitch
520% of potential
turnover for the
MARCH 2020 051
“ The aviation
has a dirty
secret, and it’s
I magine you needed to find a financial advisor to
arrange something which you know could have
a significant impact on your finances for a long
time to come. How would you find the right person?
Perhaps you could you send a vague briefing to six
financial advisory companies and invite them to send a
detailed proposal. Preparing the proposals would require
each company to spend a significant amount of money –
perhaps 5-20% of their potential turnover (yes turnover,
not profit!) – for the work they stand to win.
This proposal would be expected to include a
thorough plan for you to assess how well they’ve ‘judged’
(or, more accurately, guessed) what your future should be.
Then, rather than using this proposal as an example of
their work, understanding they had little of the details
necessary to create a proper proposal, you just pick the
supplier which has the plan closest to what you had in
mind. Then you hold the selected supplier to what they
promised within the high-pressure competitive situation
you created. Sound like a healthy plan for such an
important decision? If so, good luck.
So what does all this have to do with aircraft interiors?
Well, the aviation industry has a dirty secret, and it’s
called ‘unpaid pitching’. Unpaid pitching is damaging
to the industry, and it’s time the sector did something
about it to make a positive difference.
But of course I would say that, as someone who’s spent
most of my career within design consultancies, albeit after
working for airlines where I commissioned agencies, and
for vendors where I acted as an intermediary between
manufacturer and design agency, so I have seen this
problem from all angles. I admit some bias, but I wouldn’t
be blowing the whistle on this issue unless I knew that it
is damaging the passenger experience, which is the one
thing I’m most passionate about, far outweighing any
THE DAYS WHEN A SIMPLE
SKETCH OF A CONCEPT COULD
WIN A PITCH ARE MOSTLY GONE.
HOWEVER, WHEN IAN DRYBURGH,
CEO OF ACUMEN, SKETCHED
THIS EFFICIENT BUSINESS CLASS
SEATING LAYOUT DURING A TRAIN
JOURNEY, THE IDEA QUICKLY
GAINED TRACTION AND BECAME
UNITED’S POLARIS CLASS
“It’s time the sector did something
to make a positive difference”