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The Disruptors: Airline seating gets a boost from local challenger

PUBLISHED: 09:46 30 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:53 30 October 2019

Mirus already counts TUI and AirAsia as customers     Picture: Mirus

Mirus already counts TUI and AirAsia as customers Picture: Mirus

Mirus

Hingham-based Mirus is shaking up airline interiors with sleek, high performance seating for clients like TUI and AirAsia. The latest in The Disruptors video series, head of engineering Peter Drake shows us around.

Tell us about your business.

Founded in 2015 by Phil Hall and Ben McGuire, Mirus brings together technologies, expertise and best practices from Formula 1, and the automotive and aerospace sectors to produce lightweight aircraft seating to the global market.

What was the opportunity you identified that led to the launch of your business?

The idea behind Mirus was informed by the wealth of issues that airlines continually came up against with aircraft interior suppliers; including lack of choice and innovation when it comes to solving modern problems and providing customisation. We set out to design and make a seat that would demonstrate how the aircraft industry can be forward-thinking and practical at the same time, offering bespoke solutions that meant "off the shelf" was no longer the only option.

How did you use invention and innovation to disrupt the market?

From the outset, our goal was to use our expertise in advanced materials and composites to pave our way to disrupting the aircraft seating market, whilst drawing on our knowledge of automotive production principles to streamline the Mirus manufacturing process. We wanted our company culture to be one of innovation and never settling for the status quo, so it's important for us to ensure our products challenge the idea of the "norm" for passenger seating options.

"We set out to demonstrate how the aircraft industry could be forward-thinking and practical at the same time," says Peter Drake, head of engineering at Mirus. Picture: Mirus

What were the challenges you faced along the way and how did you learn from them?

Certification is probably our biggest challenge. For all the right reasons, the aircraft industry has an incredibly rigorous and time consuming certification process, which makes it an incredibly tough market to gain entry to and develop products within. This being said though, every time we pass certification, it's such an incredible high!

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What's been your proudest moment so far?

This summer marked the fulfilment of a promise made 8 years ago by Mirus chief executive Phil Hall to our first customer, AirAsia; to deliver an economy seat to the Airbus final assembly line as an approved Airbus supplier. The journey was not a smooth one, but it was well worth it.

If you were starting from the beginning again, what would you do differently?

It sounds like such a cliché to say that we would change nothing, but that's exactly how we feel - aside from perhaps starting the whole journey sooner. Mirus has overcome some immense challenges, but all of these have led us to where we are today. We're proud of where we are and the company we've shaped along the way. We wouldn't be the same without our mistakes or the lessons we have learned along the way.

What advice would you give to someone launching a disruptive start-up?

Find an industry you are passionate about and submerge yourself into it. Listen to the professionals and their issues with their sector. Then refuse to accept that it's the best it can be. Use your passion to make it better.

What are your plans for the future?

As we continue to develop our in-house capabilities and technologies, we will inevitably need more space. We've scoped out plans for the Mirus Technology Park, where we will be able to focus our production and progression of innovative products in the world of composites and lightweight transportation technologies. And of course...we plan to manufacture more seats!

The Disruptors is a video series highlighting the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge businesses shaking up their respective industries. Read more and follow the series here.

Want to tell us about how your business is disrupting its sector? Contact David Fieldhouse on 01603 772456.

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