Each year IFExpress asks the good folks (Reed Exhibitions) who run the AIX Hamburg InFlight Entertainment and Connectivity Conference (not to mention food, cabin interiors and seating) in Hamburg, Germany to send along a few reasons to check out the big show in Europe. It is an important show for IFE folks and ancillary goods and services connected to our industry… not to mention the airlines that flock to this show because of the location. We urge readers to go, if for no other reason, to see and be seen. This show is a Big Deal! (Editors Note: Last year we visited the Catering/Onboard Services Expo for the first time – Incredible. If you have a few extra minutes at the show, don’t miss it!)

1.   What is the expected attendance and how about exhibitors?

Compared to 2013, we have an increase of 10% in exhibition space.

The IFE Zone itself is 13% larger than 2013.  This year we have had to build a temporary structure to house the growing number of IFE exhibitors, which is a great to see.  This is only a temporary structure and for 2015 we have big plans to grow the show.

To date we have over 500 exhibitors.

Visitor registration went live back in January and we are really encouraged by the numbers that have registered to date.  There is still four weeks to go, but we certainly hope to continue the upward trend of visitor numbers we have seen over recent years.

2.   What technologies are to be covered… especially new developments?

The success of Aircraft Interiors Expo is down to having the entire spectrum of aircraft cabin interiors on show in one venue.  Check out this link for a list of exhibitors.  And to see a list of some of the innovations at AIX 2014 click here.

3.   There is a lot of talk about LED’s, obviously a show focus – correct?

Lighting and LED is certainly a sector that is growing within the interiors industry and Aircraft Interiors Expo sees this trend increasing over the next few years.  There are just over 70 exhibitors that highlight Lighting and LED as one of its product offerings.

4. Will you be featuring any new entrants for services?

Movie Studios and Content Providers are a target audience for Aircraft Interiors Expo and this year Aircraft Interiors Expo has the following content providers exhibiting:

Global Eagle Entertainment
Stellar Entertainment
Western Outdoor Interactive

Aircraft Interiors Expo’s success is down to the entire spectrum of the interiors industry being represented and as IFE is a growing sector within Aircraft Interiors Expo – evident by the space increase – this target audience is a natural progression to ensure we are offering a one-stop-shop for visitors to the show.

5. What is planned for Monday, April 7 that we should note?

The second edition of the Passenger Experience Conference will take place.  Last year surpassed expectations, so the team are 100% dedicated to ensuring its success continues by the content evolving from last year’s discussions.  This year a fourth stream has been added entitled ‘Protecting the Brand: Cabin Maintenance’.  This stream will look at how airlines can avoid the pitfall of spending too much money fixing poorly designed elements of their cabin.  This session will consider strategies for ensuring that the cabin product is robust and can be sustained throughout the lifecycle.

As with 2013 the morning will open with two plenary sessions and then the afternoon will split into four streams:

– Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity: a voyage of discovery and opportunity

– The Cabin: getting smarter about space and comfort

– Hospitality & Service – making the onboard experience memorable

– New: Protecting the Brand: cabin maintenance

A busy, but productive day will culminate with the Conference’s dedicated Industry Networking Party; providing delegates, speakers, visitors and exhibitors with an opportunity to strike up new professional relationships and fortify existing business partnerships in a relaxed atmosphere. (Editor Note – Don’t miss this!)

6.  What else should we note for our IFExpress readers?

Specifically for your readers we would like to reiterate the increase in space for the IFE Zone and the fact that Movie Studios and Content Providers are a target audience for Aircraft Interiors Expo. The Crystal Cabin Awards are once again being held at Aircraft Interiors Expo and following the official award ceremony on the evening on the 8th April, Katie Murphy (Event Director) will present the winners on the exhibition floor on Wednesday morning in Hall B1 at 11am. (See Below)

We have enhanced the Aircraft Interiors Expo mobile app.  It is designed to enhance the experience of the attendee before, during and after the show, by putting the following features and information at their fingertips: full event schedule, personalized agenda, exhibitor listings, floor plans, venue maps, social networking, speaker listings etc.

We would recommend downloading the Aircraft Interiors Expo app to keep you up-to-date with what’s happening at the show. The app also contains news on show highlights, exhibitors’ product information as well as a tool to plan your day at the event, this will enable you to make appointments and track them onsite during the show.

7. Crystal Cabin Awards

The Crystal Cabin Award is dedicated to innovations in aircraft cabins at AIX and the 21 finalists for 2014 are now in place. From such futuristic concepts seat backrest touch screens to pragmatic products like a laptop charging point at each seat, the finalists for this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards are providing a good overview of what passengers can expect to see on board very soon. Again and again it comes down to the burning question: How can an increase in passenger comfort be combined with an increase in efficiency for flight operations. This was also a significant criterion for the 24-person international Judging Panel (Including among its members numerous representatives of airlines and all the major aircraft manufacturers) as they examined every one of the 55 shortlisted entries from 12 countries. For the eight time, the finalists and winners in the seven award categories are being presented at the “Aircraft Interiors Expo”, a trade fair for aircraft cabins, being held in Hamburg from 8 to 10 April this year.


About Aircraft Interiors Expo

Innovations, technologies and products for the cabin interiors, inflight entertainment and passenger comfort industries. Taking place in Hamburg from 8-10 April 2014 the exhibition attracts thousands of buyers and decision makers from major scheduled, regional and charter airlines and offers the opportunity to meet face to face with suppliers and manufacturers covering the full spectrum of the industry

About World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo

Itwill take place in Hamburg from 8 – 10 April 2014.  Visitors will include onboard services and retail buyers, food and beverage buyers as well as procurement representatives from air and rail travel operators. The exhibitor base includes providers of snack foods, pre-prepared meals, food service equipment, hygiene products and services, food packaging, passenger comfort products and onboard retail items.

Register for AIX Hamburg 2014

Get your plane tickets soon because Europe’s biggest IFE exhibition starts Monday 26 March in Hamburg, Germany. This year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo should prove to be a busy and worthwhile show to spend your travel budgets on. The more than 500 exhibiting companies will showcase a wide variety of innovations and new products to entice airline buyers. The folks at CMS Strategic expect upward of 8,000 visitors. Once again new seating concepts, across all parts of the cabin interior, and the latest in inflight entertainment and connectivity will draw a significant amount of visitor attention but other areas such as new galley concepts, and fabrics will be highlighted as well.

Here are just a few of the companies who have told us they are participating: Panasonic, Thales, IFPL, Linstol, Intelligent Avionics, Aircraft Cabin Systems, Long Prosper, Lufthansa Systems, OnAir, Phitek… and we expect to see many more from the “Who’s Who” in the IFE and Connectivity world. From an insiders perspective, we are looking for the Lufthansa Systems BoardConnect System, Intelligent Avionics Aura, IMS’s RAVE, IFPL’s next Near Field Communication iteration, Phitek’s MagJack, and perhaps, Lumexis’ secret development!

AIX first-timers, to get the low down on the show and its location go to Hamburg Messe. There are plenty of train and public transport connections in Hamburg and if this is your first visit to this German harbor town you are probably looking at a daily high mean temperature of 45 degrees F.

We will have more data on speakers and topics in the show edition of IFExpress in about one month.


Show Tip: Keep Monday March 26, open, as there are Keynote speeches, IFE Panel Discussions, News Conferences and breakout sessions. Find out more.

Hamburg Attraction: The World’s Largest Miniature Railway Exhibition – You have to see the airport – watch the website video!

City Tip: Harbor Ride

Restaurant Tip: Pantera (Meat!!!)

Function: Astronics, of course!

April 13, 2011 — This year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo proved to be a busy show for the more than 500 exhibiting companies that showcased a wide variety of innovations and new products to entice airline buyers. More than 7,900 (*pre-ABC Audit figure) visitors attended the event.

Once again new seating concepts, across all parts of the cabin interior, and the latest in inflight entertainment and connectivity drew a significant amount of visitor attention but other areas such as new galley concepts, fabrics and flooring also got a look in.

Some of the highlights and announcements – from the luxurious to the practical or downright quirky – included:

AIM Aviation displayed the world’s first flying duty free shop which Korean Air will be using on its first 10 A380s when they enter service in June. Up to 64 individual items can be displayed and, in the event of turbulence, each of the display bottles has a strong magnet on the bottom which can withstand a 2g loading

Airbus unveiled its Space-Flex lavatory and galley concept which can enable A320-family operators to fit an extra three seats on their aircraft

The IMS Company said that its RAVE seat-centric inflight entertainment system is going to be installed on five Brussels Airlines Airbus A330s in the fourth quarter of 2011

Intelligent Avionics showed a full in-seat demonstrator of its new lightweight AURA seat-centric IFE system – the total weight of each seat-centric system comes to just 1.5kg per passenger

B/E Aerospace was demonstrating its new lightweight seat for premium cabins. Unlike electric business-class seats, the Millennium seat is all mechanical helping to ensure that the seat is lightweight and lower cost. It is suited to business or first class narrowbody cabins but would also work well as a premium economy seat for widebody aircraft

Better hygiene in aircraft lavatories beckons with wash basin manufacturer Schüschke demonstrating its automatic, non-touch waste bin lid

Lufthansa Technik is now able to offer an exercise bike for installation on aircraft. Engineers at the company took an off-the-shelf product, made by Technogym, and modified it to satisfy aviation regulations. It is now ready for certification

Katie Murphy, Event Director at Aircraft Interiors Expo, said: “The exhibition had a great buzz to it this year and we felt that, after the economic challenges faced by the industry in the last couple of years, companies have more freedom once again to invest in research and development.”

The next Aircraft Interiors Expo takes place from 27-29 March 2012 at the Hamburg Messe.

Thales, The IMS Company, RECARO, Elektro-Metall Export, Lufthansa Technik, the Munich University of Applied Sciences delighted to win cabin prize

Hamburg, Germany – April 5, 2011 -– 180 invited guests from the aviation industry witnessed the
excitement and tension of the award ceremony for this year’s Crystal Cabin Award in Hamburg’s prestigious traditional hotel, the Atlantic. After a formal dinner, seven snow-white trophies were presented to beaming winners. The unique prizes for innovative products and concepts in the field of aircraft cabins were awarded to Elektro-Metall Export, Lufthansa Technik, RECARO, Thales, The IMS Company and the Munich University of Applied Sciences. A total of 52 entries from ten countries were received by the Crystal Cabin Award Association in Hamburg. 21 of them reached the final round. “It is surprising that, although there have been many improvements in the past ten years, there are still new innovations coming to light every time. It is often said that allowing for variation in body posture poses a difficulty in airplanes, but the finalists have proven that this is not necessarily the case,” comments Prof. Dr Peter Vink from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands (Industrial Design Engineering), a member of the Judging Panel.

The trophy in the “Entertainment and Communication” category was presented by the new Secretary of State at Hamburg’s Ministry of Economic and Labour Affairs, Dr Bernd Egert. And the winner was The IMS Company from the USA, for its RAVE (Reliable Audio Video Entertainment) product, an embedded on-board entertainment system with only two part numbers. The Seat Display Unit (SDU) stores all content and has all of the system’s functionality built in. This makes it independent from the System Control Unit (SCU), which has the sole task of downloading the content for the coming month in the background and providing an interface to the aircraft. A localised system failure is no longer possible. There are no more LRUs and there is no unnecessary weight. And the installation is simpler, too.

In the “Industrial Design / Interior Concept” category, Rainer von Borstel of Diehl Aerosystems presented the trophy to RECARO Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG. The Swabian manufacturer’s winning BL3520 seat has three key characteristics: reduced weight, more space and increased comfort. Scientific research and intelligent design have created the patented solution that makes all this possible – a slimmer, space-saving backrest. And the new seat weighs in at 3 kilograms less than the previous model.

And the RECARO Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG team got to go straight back up onto the stage again when they won the trophy in the “Passenger Comfort” category for their Air New Zealand SkyCouch. The SkyCouch is a trio of economy seats that create a flexible space for up to three passengers. The leg rests can be raised to 60 or even 90 degrees, giving passengers the choice: three seats, or one couch. Relax, stretch out, or sleep. The trophy was presented by Dr Dierk Hickmann, an engineer and a member of the judging panel.

Germany’s Elektro-Metall Export GmbH won a trophy in the “Greener Cabin, Health and Safety” category, presented by Peter Bishop from the Judging Panel, for their Non-Touch Waste Flap product. Working together with Schüschke Solid Surface, Elektro-Metall Export has developed an automatic flap for waste bins in aircraft lavatories. A capacitive sensor responds to the proximity of the user’s hand to activate the flap, so that aircraft of the future can offer a more hygienic and thus more pleasant environment for passengers and crew.

Lufthansa Technik from Germany took out the “Material and Components” category with their Galley Light. The world’s thinnest floor path marking system has been tuned for its environment so well that it blends flush into the galley floor and can withstand the physical loads, fluids and temperatures that it will be subject to in an airliner’s galley. The system operates without electricity and is available in a wide range of colours. Dr Jörg Schuler from Airbus had the honour of congratulating the team as he presented the trophy.

The “University Category” is still very new, and the students delivered a photo finish. Marina Fischer, Bianca Herberth and Veronika Ruml from the Munich University of Applied Sciences won by a whisker. The focus of their Airgonomic interior design concept study, produced in cooperation with EADS Innovation Works, was on the basic needs of passengers on short-haul flights. The materials used for the seat, with an integrated hightech gel, ensure an optimal, ergonomic posture for every passenger – even in Economy. Electrical impulses adjust the firmness of the gel pads, making it possible to tune the seat to the needs of the individual passenger and the phase of the flight. The Airgonomic integrated design concept’s principle advantages are that the seats weigh less and have fewer components than a normal seat. Moving parts have been avoided. Rolf Dieter Sellge, Aviation Consultant and member of the Judging Panel, presented the trophy to the three young graduates, whilst Carmen Krause, Crystal Cabin Award Project Manager, presented them with a cheque for 3,000 euros.

The “Judges Commendation Prize” was presented to THALES for the Touch Passenger Media Unit by Christian Körfgen, Chairman of the Judging Panel and Vice President of Product Management & Innovation at Deutsche Lufthansa AG. TouchPMU is a menu-driven handheld device running the Android™ operating system and controlled with a 3.8 inch (9.7 cm) touchscreen. The system presents airlines with a vast degree of flexibility in terms of both the entertainment and information they provide for their passengers and the way they communicate. TouchPMU represents a whole new level in the development of on-board entertainment systems, enhancing both functionality and ease of use at the same time.

The Crystal Cabin Award 2011 is supported by Airbus, the Aircraft Interiors Expo (Reed Exhibitions), Aircraft Interiors International Magazine, Assystem, Bishop GmbH, DIEHL Aerosystems Holding GmbH, FERCHAU AVIATION Division, HTG Media Hamburg, Jetliner Cabins and SGS Germany GmbH.

Hamburg, Germany – April 5, 2011 — Premium economy is here to stay, seats may have reached the limit of their ‘thinness’ and the IFE market could be about to experience seismic change, according to this morning’s press conference panellists on Day 1 of the Aircraft Interiors Expo. The three-day event takes place in Hamburg until 7th April.

The panel all set any scepticisms about premium economy/economy plus firmly straight by confirming that it is not only here to stay but may hold further opportunities to be explored.

Alex Hervet, Long Haul Products Director at Air France, said that 600,000 passengers had already flown on the airline’s Premium Voyager service since its launch in late 2009 and that the airline now has Premium Voyager across 90 per cent of its fleet. “Next month we are receiving our fifth A380 aircraft and this will be the first one to have Premium Voyager onboard.”

United Airline’s Director of Product Marketing, John Yeng, backed this up saying, “There is big potential out there for premium economy.” He added that feedback from the airline’s Economy Plus area showed that passengers were scoring this service significantly higher than traditional economy in terms of rating the overall travel experience.

According to the CAA, for every four passengers who fly for business purposes, three of them are in economy seats – pointing to a significant growth potential for this segment of the cabin space.

Legroom and seating was also raised as an issue. Airbus’s Head of Aircraft Interiors Marketing, Bob Lange, said he felt it was now mathematically impossible to make seat backs any thinner than the latest products already offer.

Tom Plant, VP & General Manager Seating Products at B/E Aerospace said he thought it was entirely possible that a 28 pitch could become standard for economy use in the future, thanks to the latest seating technology. He said: “The challenge is still long-term comfort in that area – a true judge of how comfortable a seat is means it needs to still be comfortable after three months, six months and a year’s worth of use – if it’s still comfortable after that then you have a great product.”

In the inflight entertainment arena, Lumexis’s CEO Doug Cline, said that IFE was getting ready for another seismic change with new companies coming into the market with innovations – the big question was who was going to survive? He said: “Suppliers have to drive down to the lowest cost of purchase, the lowest cost of maintenance and highest levels of reliability.”

Bob Lange commented that cost was also a major factor for airlines saying that the annual costs to maintain IFE could be as much as an aircraft engine. “It’s important for airlines to make the right decisions from the beginning,” he said.

John Yeng added: “There are many companies with emerging IFE technologies – we are looking for partners that can offer reliable products that can be delivered to market in the quickest way.”

January 27, 2011 — An improving economic environment and rising passenger expectations are two of the factors expected to help fuel the aircraft interiors industry during 2011. Aircraft Interiors Expo, which is being held at the Hamburg Messe from 5 to 7 April this year, will once again provide the industry with the opportunity to showcase its latest products and services to the world’s largest gathering of airline procurement representatives. Examples of new business class seating and advanced inflight entertainment and connectivity systems are expected to be two of the trends that airlines are particularly interested in seeing this year.

In terms of passenger numbers, both of the major airframe manufacturers – Airbus and Boeing – are predicting passenger growth levels of around 4.8 percent over the next 18 years, which will help to boost travel demand. Added to this many airlines have been holding onto legacy fleets that are now not only less fuel efficient than modern aircraft but are also starting to look tired and dilapidated inside.

With airlines taking an ever more holistic approach to their customers, looking at all the points at which passengers interface with the airline – from the pre-flight experience to transitioning through the airport and the flight itself – yet the cabin interior remains key.

Vern Alg, Industry Consultant to Aircraft Interiors Expo says: “The recent economic downturn caused many airlines to drastically cut their spending on cabin interiors. This reduced investment is really starting to show in some areas including cabin maintenance and product upgrades. Now, these airlines are going to have to play catch up or they risk getting left behind as passenger expectations continue to increase.”

Vern points out that expectations – beyond the budget-only traveller – have continued to rise even in the downturn. These expectations are about more than just whether the inflight entertainment system is working during the flight. Tatty seat covers and dilapidated carpets, worn looking washrooms, and obsolete premium seats are noticed by passengers. These things do have an impact on their perceptions of an airline and drive their buying decisions.

Indeed, what Vern describes as “the whole airline product” is expected to become more segmented for passengers – in the same way that visitors to a restaurant chose their preferences from a menu of options. This trend is already underway in areas such as choosing to pay for food on flights or paying less if you have less baggage. It is going to be an educational process to promote these initiatives to passengers, but it will become more and more normal for passengers to pick and choose options they want as they create their own personal travel experience.

“We are going to see a resurgence in the industry over the next two or three years,” says Vern. “Even mature markets such as North America could see 3 to 4 per cent growth while younger markets in Asia for example could see growth rates of as high as 7 per cent. The business traveller will be back in force as we progress through this economic cycle. It’s a great time for companies to be ramping up their research and development as airlines are looking around for innovative ideas to enable their growth plans.”

Aircraft Interiors Expo 2010 attracted 7316* visitors (*pre-ABC audit figure) over the three-day run of the exhibition last week. The number of airline visitors increased on the previous year with 852 representatives from 200 airlines visiting the show.

The show’s opening press conference set the stage for what visitors were able to see on the exhibition floor. Panellist Tim Clark, Emirates’ President said, “This show is growing in stature and content every year.”

Exhibitors backed up Clark’s praise for Aircraft Interiors Expo by continuing to show their innovative streak with a raft of announcements and new product launches. Some of the highlights included:

– Qatar Airways’ deal with Thales to equip up to 60 Boeing 787s with its broadband connectivity services

– First time exhibitors Optimares, whose stand included a giant airline seat and passenger, introduced a business class seat that has a curved privacy barrier built into the headrest

– Dasell Cabin Interiors, a Crystal Cabin Award winner this year, was exhibiting its new aircraft lavatory concept. This can be extended or retracted as required from its standard size, enabling its use as a changing room or a toilet for disable passengers

– Airbus demonstrated a functional prototype of its SPICE (space innovative catering equipment) galley cart, which has now been tested by a number of airlines. The SPICE galley replaces the traditional catering trolley with lightweight boxes and foldable carts for service

Other events during the show included a special presentation of all the Crystal Cabin Award winners. This took place in the Crystal Cabin Award gallery and gave winners the chance to explain in person more about their winning entries. The exhibition also played host to the second World Airline Awards ceremony which saw Asiana win the highly coveted Airline of the Year award.

Reed Exhibitions Group Exhibition Director, Ian Crawford, said: “A trip to Hamburg during Aircraft Interiors Expo offers cabin interiors buyers the opportunity to maximise their time and see a wide range of suppliers and new products all under the same roof. It really is worth their while and we’ve been very encouraged with the continuing support from airline visitors this year.”

* Aircraft Interiors Expo is an ABC audited show.

The next Aircraft Interiors Expo takes place from 5 to 7 April 2011 at the Hamburg Messe.