One of the two InFlight Entertainment & Connectivity shows/meetings/exposition is about to convene in roughly one month – Aircraft Interiors, April 9 thru 11, in Hamburg, Germany and it is one you don’t want to miss. Technically billed as The Aircraft Interiors Expo – “Exclusively aircraft interiors”, it is the world’s largest exposition dedicated to this subject, so you need to go. Yes, it is also free to gain entrance just pre register here or you can sign-up at the expo but then you have to wait in line.

AIX this year will cover approx 18,000 sqm, which is a 2,000 sq increase on last year, and there are over 60 new exhibitors, which is always a good sign. the AIX team tells us that the Thought Wall will return this year (Hall B7) encouraging visitors and exhibitors to give their views on a selection of topics. Further, Carol Seath tells IFExpress that four new IFE software companies have signed up.  AIX historically attracts the hardware element (of course readers know this), but the software side is starting to view AIX as a good tool for expanding their businesses.  The four companies are: DTI Software, planBmedia, Satcom Direct, and Western Outdoor Interactive. AIX is co-located with World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo filling out the complete global passenger experience (great free food).

Here is a link to the Hamburg Messe & Congress show site. We also have a link to the conference program, the Sessions, and the Industry Networking Party. We particularly note the session breakout stream dedicated to IFE entitled ‘Driving extra value from inflight entertainment systems and connectivity that will, no doubt, give you enough fodder for that necessary trip report See below). If all this is not enough to get your boss to sign a trip request, attach this list to the form:

Some Key Sessions to Consider

A Strategic Vision for Future Passenger Experience will be the subject debated in the opening plenary session at this year’s Passenger Experience Conference.  Jointly run by Aircraft Interiors Expo and World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo, the event takes place on Monday 8 April at the CCH – Congress Center Hamburg. Vern Alg, a consultant with over 40 years’ experience in the aviation market, will set the scene and encourage discussion on how to identify and evaluate opportunities for future evolution of the passenger experience in light of what passengers demand from the cabin environment.  A key question for airlines is how they will meet those demands and how airframe manufacturers and suppliers can support them in achieving their aims. 

The second plenary session, Trends, Influencers and Other Industries, will be chaired by Blake Emery, Director, Differentiation Strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.  This session, headed by Tom Costley, Group Director, Head of Travel & Tourism at TNS UK, will address which global trends will impact passengers’ lives from a political, economic and social stand point. In the same session Devin Liddell, Principal Brand Strategist for Teague will consider how the interiors sector could learn from other industries that have successfully linked brand to financial performance.  Blake will be joined by Zuzana Hrnkova, Head of Aircraft Interiors Marketing at Airbus; John Yeng, Director of Product Marketing for United Airlines; and Peter Morris, Chief Economist at Ascend to tease out the implications of these visions on future cabin development. Blake said: “Looking at trends can help us think more deeply about the products and services we design.  I am honored to get the chance to host this distinguished panel.  I encourage those attending the conference to think ahead about questions they would like to ask the panelists, so we can make this a robust and enlightening session.”

In the afternoon the Passenger Experience Conference splits into three dedicated interiors breakout sessions – Driving Extra Value for Inflight Entertainment Systems and Connectivity, New Opportunities in Hospitality and Service, and Cabin Interiors to Support New Ways of doing Business. The latter will once again be chaired by Vern Alg and feature Jeremy White, Head of Transport at Seymour Powell.  Jeremy will share insights into how the travel experience can encompass customers’ individual preferences, regardless of the fact that the majority of the world is more often than not designed for the average.  Michael Kotas, Delta Air Lines; Jörg Cremers, Airbus; and Jennifer Coutts Clay, J Clay Consulting will all join Jeremy in this breakout session. Driving Extra Value for Inflight Entertainment Systems and Connectivity will be chaired by Michael Planey, an independent consultant who runs HM Planey. We are delighted to announce that Lida Mantzavinou from Frost & Sullivan will be opening this session. Lida will present research data on critical trends, forecasts and external challenges that will impact inflight entertainment. This breakout session will also look at the technology behind inflight connectivity and bandwidth, which is a regular topic on the agenda of most IFE suppliers. Michael Small, CEO at Gogo will review the relative pros and cons of Air to Ground (ATG), L Band, Ku Band and Ka Band, looking at which service – or a combination of services – will best suit particular business models.  Neil James of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Jamie Perry from JetBlue Airlines, Guðmundur Óskarsson from Icelandiar and Dawood Al Raisi from Oman Air, will address the issue of how airlines and suppliers can create a richer, more personalised inflight experience that customers will enjoy and – importantly – want to purchase.

New Opportunities in Hospitality and Service will open with Raymond Kollau from airline trends, who will present on how travel companies can impress customers and identify which hospitality trends to look out for in the near future.  He will also share his knowledge on how the industry can learn from other hospitality brands.  Following Raymond, Peter Gabrielsson from Finnair will impart his experiences on how, while serving a multi-national, multi-cultural market, you can still showcase local cultures and cuisine and enhance your brand personality.

Katie Murphy, Exhibition Director for Aircraft Interiors Expo, said: “Following the huge success of last year’s conference, the Passenger Experience Conference 2013 will not only address new issues in the interiors world, but also continue the debate initiated last year on subjects such as connectivity and WIFI and we are confident that industry will find this year’s event just as rewarding.”

Finally, we have a link to the free show apps