This is our company

Our Vision

An inspired flying experience

Our Mission

To design and deliver inspirational products and services, of the highest quality, to realise the expectations of our customers

Our Inspiration

At Thompson Aero Seating we believe that TOGETHER, WE INSPIRE. This encapsulates our distinctiveness and ingenuity, along with our people-centric approach and a beginning-to-end methodology, working in true partnership with our customers and suppliers. All of which sits within the aim of continually increasing our sustainability credentials.

We are an agile and innovative company, offering customisation and consumer understanding at an unparalleled level. Our experience and excellence enable us to work with you on a truly inspirational journey.

About Us

Thompson Aero Seating is renowned for its ingenuity in the design and delivery of premium, business-class airline seating. We were founded by James Thompson twenty years ago when the first Vantage fully flat-bed seat was conceived, to bring greater comfort and space-efficiency to business-class seating solutions.

Today, Thompson Aero Seating offers a wide range of innovative, beautiful, comfortable, highly efficient, and reliable business- and first-class seating products. The constantly expanding and evolving Vantage seating range now includes products for twin- and single-aisle aircraft, which range from turnkey, through customised, to utterly bespoke, using intelligent design to maximise passengers’ comfort and personal space, optimising every inch of the cabin. The company is owned by AVIC.

Our Values

Ethics and integrity

We are accountable, inclusive and responsible, maintaining the highest ethical standards in all that we do.

Operational excellence

We strive to deliver the best, exceeding our customers’ expectations and embracing continuous improvement.

Customer focus

We put our customers at the heart of everything we do, offering the most agile, flexible and innovative solutions, supported by on-time and on-budget delivery with the highest levels of safety, value and quality.


We are optimistic, courageous and bounce back quickly from setbacks. We continuously strive to gain the competitive advantage by evolving and rapidly recovering whilst remaining robust, calm and steadfast.

Working together

We work together as one team, leveraging and celebrating our diverse perspectives, talents, individuality and cultures.


Innovation is the foundation of all that we do, creating a platform of sustained growth for the company, customer and the environment.

Our Team

Tongyu Xu – Chairman of the Board

Tongyu Xu joined AVIC Cabin Systems as executive vice president in March 2022, in charge of the Group’s UK business. He has also taken the role of chairman of Thompson Aero Seating to oversee strategic operation of the business. Prior to that, he worked as chairman and CEO of AVIC Supply Chain. He has rich experience in managing a variety of global businesses as part of the AVIC Group.

Tongyu Xu

Chairman of the Board

Haiyuan Fang – Managing Director of the Board
Immersed in the aircraft industry for 35 years. From project management to program operation, from trade business to industrial production, from business function to overall business management, it’s mostly enjoyable and there is still so much more to be explored. “Our job is a process of whole-hearted engagement until in the end you are part of the process itself.”

Haiyuan Fang

Managing Director of the Board

Neil Taggart – Chief Executive Officer

Neil is a professional and highly skilled senior executive and business leader with extensive experience in driving operational excellence, leading organisational change and developing high-performing teams, systems and processes. He has wide-ranging knowledge across industries including Aerospace, Defence, Maritime and Automotive. In his spare time, Neil enjoys time with his family, sailing and travel.

Neil Taggart

Chief Executive Officer

Peter Bell – Chief Financial Officer

Peter Bell joined Thompson in January 2017. He is responsible for all aspects of financial reporting, compliance, planning and analysis, as well as the company’s information technology functions. Peter trained as a Chartered Accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Belfast, including secondments to London, New York, California and Melbourne. After eight years in practice and prior to joining Thompson, he worked in senior financial roles at Magellan Aerospace and Terex Corporation, both based in Northern Ireland. Peter holds a BSc from Queen’s University, Belfast and a MSc from Ulster University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.

Peter Bell

Chief Financial Officer

Andy Morris – Chief Commercial Officer
Andy Morris is Chief Commercial Officer within Thompson. This broad, global role encompasses overall responsibility for Thompson’s future sales, marketing and contractual activities, as well as the future product roadmap. Andy’s team is truly global with locations in the UK and Northern Ireland, USA, Hong Kong, China and New Zealand. Andy’s extensive experience in aviation and the wider travel sector spans many years. Joining Thompson in 2013, Andy previously had spent six years as Fleet & Cabin Development Manager with the UK-based airline bmi British Midland. One of Andy’s career highlights was leading the programme to install full lie-flat beds on bmi’s single-aisle fleet, the world’s first commercial airline to achieve this landmark, which has since been followed by many other airlines around the world.

Andy Morris

Chief Commercial Officer

Jonny McGreevy – VP Engineering

Jonny entered into engineering through a post-graduate Higher National Diploma in electrical engineering. He then progressed to obtain an honours degree in electronic & electrical at Queen's University, Belfast. Having worked in various engineering roles in related aerospace businesses he moved to Thompson Aero Seating in 2011 as an electrical project manager. Having introduced a number of new technical systems to the product range he moved to project management for various initial customers along with the introduction and accreditation of the business to OEM offerability. In 2013 Jonny took responsibility for the design team as Engineering Design manager to manage the introduction of the new VantageXL range of seating, later becoming the head of design. Jonny is driven by listening to customers and providing technical solutions which allow Thompson Aero Seating to continually redefine the cabin interior by linking technical advancements with product evolution to deliver first-to-market, innovative products to our customers.

Jonny McGreevy

VP Engineering

David McCabe – VP Programmes
David McCabe is vice president of programmes for Thompson Aero Seating with responsibility for leadership and effective programme governance on all customer and OEM contracts across the full programme lifecycle, from bid, through NPI and serial and aftermarket support. Prior to being VP programmes David was Head of transformation driving a multi-site business transformation and recovery programme, Project Phoenix, from 2020 to 2022. Before joining Thompson Aero Seating, David held head of operations roles in RLC (UK) and Andor Technology, with P&L accountability. Key projects in this period were the build of a 100,000 ft square manufacturing facility and the work transfer of a titanium military aerostructures business unit. David was an engineer in various sectors before moving into engineering management and project leadership roles with Schrader Electronics (Automotive) and RLC (UK) (Aerospace). David holds an MSc in Engineering, with distinction, along with a first-class honours BEng degree from Queen’s University, Belfast, and is a chartered engineer with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

David McCabe

VP Programmes

Gavin Gillespie – VP Supply Chain
Gavin Gillespie joined Thompson Aero Seating in November 2019 having over 30 years of experience serving the aerospace, marine and defence industries. He has held a variety of leadership roles spanning manufacturing engineering, supply chain, operations and managing director positions. In his current role of VP supply chain, he holds responsibility for leading the end-to-end supply-chain function ranging from procurement and sourcing strategy through to effective management of material planning activities. He is an experienced results-orientated transformational-style leader and has a proven track record of successful achievements throughout his career, with specific previous responsibility for leading the senior leadership team of a business through significant positive change sustained over many years, earning the company concerned the title of most improved business (UK).

Gavin Gillespie

VP Supply Chain

Gordon Cracknell – VP Operations
  • Leadership roles across a range of industries with a track record of integrating design, technology and operations to deliver business outcomes in terms of P&L
  • Including director of operations at both James Leckey Design in the medical devices industry and AECOM engineering services business
  • At Broadspectrum as general manager of industrial maintenance east transforming traditional service businesses in the manufacturing, industrial and oil & gas sectors
  • At UGL Unipart, as general manager of operations & programmes
  • At UGL, as general manager design engineering rolling stock
  • At B/E Aerospace as composites business unit director led the creation of a composite design & manufacturing facility on a brown-field site
  • At Bombardier Aerospace as manufacturing engineering manager and new technology team leader led the team during a period of unprecedented change driven by 9/11 and the introduction of new manufacturing technologies.

Gordon Cracknell

VP Operations

Emma Stewart – Head of Quality
Emma Stewart is the Head of Quality at Thompson Aero Seating, joining the company in May 2022. Emma and the wider quality team are responsible for managing the quality approvals that we hold within the factory, supporting the approval and management of the suppliers to our business, and delivering top quality product to our customers. Emma studied at our local NI universities completing her BA at QUB, followed by a Masters at UUJ, in more recent years completing an MBA at Bradford School of Business. Emma has worked within the aerospace industry for more than 20 years and has held senior quality roles across a number of organisations including Survitecgroup, Magellan Aerospace and B/E Aerospace. With more than 20 years working within the aerospace sector Emma has been involved in many change and improvement activities over the years with a wealth of experience gained across a range of areas. These include multiple regulatory approvals such as AS9100, 21G, 145, AS9100, 14001, product transfer activity, continuous improvement and problem-solving tools, and new product introduction.

Emma Stewart

Head of Quality

Edwin Ratnam – VP Aftermarket & Services
Edwin has been with Thompson Aero Seating since 2019, initially as the Head of onsite support for Thompson seat installation activities at Airbus, Boeing and across the various MRO’s around the world. Upon the onset of Covid in 2020, Edwin assumed the aftermarket portfolio with P&L responsibility where he and his team helped customers navigate the challenging aviation market with support on all Thompson matters. Post pandemic, Edwin is spearheading all Thompson customers’ activity as they return to the skies, with various cabin reconfigurations, cabin refresh, re-housing of aircraft etc. He and his team are currently setting up a service-based organisation where customers are able to look to Thompson for support in their end-to-end cabin maintenance apart from just spares. Edwin is no stranger to the aviation industry as he was with Malaysia Airlines for 27 years in various roles starting as an apprentice, engineer and working his way to head of aircraft projects, overseeing the aircraft procurement business within Malaysia Airlines. His final role in Malaysia was head of maintenance operations – Malaysia Airlines, before joining Thompson in 2019.

Edwin Ratnam

VP Aftersales and Services

Chris Williamson – Head of Transformation
Chris Williamson joined Thompson Aero Seating in January 2023 as head of quality and in October 2022 changed role to head of transformation. In this position he leads a team of project managers who are responsible for running a portfolio of business-change projects from inception, through delivery and final closure, ensuring project delivery and business benefits are realised. Prior to Thompson Aero Seating Chris worked in several market-leading companies in the defence, aerospace and automotive sectors.

Chris Williamson

Head of Transformation

Our Products

Thompson’s product design evolution is founded upon an extremely flexible and customisable platform, coupled with a unique methodology used during the build process of the seats. 

This approach facilitates a fluid and continuing design process with reduced lead times, constantly pushing the boundaries and driving many ‘first-to-market’ features.

The Vantage range of products continues to grow and evolve with different densities and features, but all underpinned by innovative solutions and our focus on space creation.

The Vantage seating range from Thompson comprises:

  • Vantage – Full-flat business-class comfort, with maximised cabin density, for single- and twin-aisle aircraft
  • VantageXL – Work, relax and sleep in luxury. Business class for twin-aisle aircraft
  • VantageSOLO – The world’s first all direct-aisle access full-flat bed, designed and certified for single-aisle aircraft
  • VantageDUO – Full relaxation, maximum density, for single-aisle aircraft
  • VantageFirst – encompassed within both the VantageXL and VantageSOLO configurations is the possibility of enhanced front-row first-class suites without any loss of cabin density. First class for free! 

Our Approvals

EASA Part 21G CertificationUK. 21G. 2638 (until 29th March after Brexit it will be EASA.UK.21G.2638)
EASA Part 21A.602B(b)(2) ApprovalEASA.305
EASA PART145 CertificationUK.145.01290 (until 29th March after Brexit it will be EASA.UK.145.01290)
AS EN 9100 Rev D CertificationFM 540498

The Thompson seating range is available across all Airbus (A320F, A330, A350 and A380) and Boeing (B737, B757, B767, B777 and B787) platforms.