insulation may be prone to chafing which could increase the risk of electrical arcing and fire.
Because of the extensive use of aluminum in current aircraft, it is necessary to be concerned with galvanic corrosion. Thermal/acoustical insulation also needs to be resistant to wicking and water absorption to avoid promoting corrosion. Textiles can cause corrosion problems due to the fire-retardant treatments involving flame-inhibiting salts that may promote corrosion if brought into contact with metal surfaces. Fabric treatments need to be tested to ensure they do not promote corrosion. Corrosion resistance is also pertinent to some of the newer composites that use reinforcement fabrics of carbon and graphite, which have galvanic potentials considerably different from those of metals, especially aluminum. Special sealing requirements are required to electrically isolate these composite materials from aluminum components such as seat tracks, fasteners, and floor beams.
Even though interior furnishings may be durable, there is inevitable damage that occurs which requires that the affected item either be repaired or replaced.
In general, it is substantially less costly to repair damage to an interior furnishing than to discard and replace it. Although a damaged furnishing may be removed and replaced to allow the airplane to continue in uninterrupted service, the airline normally pursues repair of the item and stores it as a spare. Therefore there is a priority for repairability of reasonable damage to interior furnishings and to have repair processes and procedures identified and documented by the manufacturer.
Airlines use an airplane's interior decor, and to some extent the exterior decor, as a marketing tool. This is intended to reflect the airline's corporate image, style, and mission. Aircraft interior designers therefore need to have a variety of colors, prints, and textures and different degrees of plushness for airlines to select from to build a unique image and identity.
For newly manufactured aircraft, the basic shape and architecture of the interior are normally the standard ones offered by the aircraft manufacturer. The choices the airline customer has are mainly centered on decorative schemes to reflect the corporate image and perhaps the placement of some amenities such as lavatories and galleys.
Interiors for newly manufactured aircraft are normally designed by the aircraft manufacturer in coordination with the customer airline, but their actual fabrication is done by various combinations of the aircraft manufacturers and subcontractors who specialize in the manufacture of interior furnishings.
With proper maintenance, interiors are designed to last as long as the aircraft. Airlines often update the interiors of aircraft in their fleet to present a "new look." Interiors may also be refurbished or remodeled at some time during service due to transfer of the aircraft between airlines or safety-related retrofit. These interior furnishings are for the most part also fabricated by manufacturers who specialize in the manufacture of interior furnishings.
In both newly manufactured and redecorated aircraft, different levels of decor and amenities are used to target different segments of the passenger population. Business and first class travelers expect and are usually provided a higher level of comfort and luxury than passengers in the economy class; however, owing to the competition between airlines in the pursuit of passengers, the interior furnishings for all classes of service receive considerable attention.
The types of routes an airline flies and the airports it serves also affect aesthetic considerations. For example, airlines that fly into airports serviced by airstairs have their cabin interiors substantially affected by weather. Hot tarmac particles in the summer, snow in the winter, and combinations of rain, wind, and dirt during all seasons are constant problems. Another consideration is that airlines that provide international service to different areas of the world must contend with aircraft serviceability and maintenance requirements at locations far removed from their home base.