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.

Another successful AIX has passed muster and the IFExpress team is in the process of pulling stories from the reams of data collected to keep those ‘Hot Topics’ flowing for the foreseeable future. As a show, the official details are not yet available; however, it looked like an ample supply of visitor and airlines were present – no complaints from vendors must mean a good show was had by all. Let’s turn to highlights now:

Seat-Centricity seemed to be the theme, from Crystal Cabin Awards to vendor space, enhancement and advancement of seat electronics was commonplace. For those of you searching for a definition, seat centricity simply places more of the storage and content processing at the seat. More powerful processors, increased memory, and GUI-driven interfaces are the name of the game. Beyond hardware and software, the dependency of servers and networks for content delivery is reduced. An earlier prediction from an IFE maven gave us this quote in an earlier Hot Topic: “…and Seat-centric IFE systems will get traction in 2011 with significant orders.” While we are not sure about the ‘traction’ part we are sure of the orders. Vendors who sell this type of IFE are sitting on orders. Take that to the bank!

We counted at least 3 new GSM (Ku and Ka) hardware sources and while we did not talk to them all, the big surprise was from the software house, TriaGnoSys. Their 2 box solution is pretty revolutionary. We note the company has hired an additional hardware team and is working with subcontractors to deliver a simpler GSM inflight telephony solution. With over 1,300 connectivity equipped airplanes flying toady, we promise a story on this one, and the trend, soon.

App developers (We talked to two) also demonstrated their wares. An iPad for crew usage from Ultramain got our attention, while platform agnostic Plane Bill showed new, slick, and very useful airline apps. MRO iPad solutions were in attendance as well.

One major player (No names mentioned – yet), who has reduced their IFE footprint in the past few years, is ramping up a new system this summer… probably for a single-aisle solution. We suspect their new gadget includes connectivity, but what do we know? Stay Tuned on this one, probably in early summer!

Panasonic displayed their VERY SLICK, seat-centric Android, X3 IFE system – and it was really nice. Panasonic worked up a few apps with a new outside supplier that were clean, fast and very attractive and hosted it on their seat-centric solution. Their display and app presentation was the talk of the show.

While we visited at least 4 portable IFE suppliers, there were more at AIX. While the iPad was represented, we saw at least one new tablet-driven system… and yes, it ran Microsoft Windows 7 OS.

Thales IFE guru, Ken Brady, showed IFExpress their Ka-Band Global Express connectivity solution (Inmarsat), destined for 350-XWB service. Will greater Ka-Bandwidth provide the $/kilobit advantage and rule connectivity?

We finally got a look at the new, thin, HD display from Lumexis… nice!

Big Display folks – ACS, showed us new, no fan, LCD display designs (It’s done with ‘chimneys’) and a thin (1.9 inch), giant 46 inch LCD unit. Thin is in!

Much to our embarrassment, Ka-Band connectivity is coming on strong. In the past, we echoed expert opinion that Ka-Band, here today on marine applications and business jets, would probably debut on commercial planes in 5 or so years. Wrong! Live TV and ViaSat are looking at a 12 month time-frame.

And now the thanks:
An IFExpress thank you goes out to Panasonic’s Gene Connelly who literally gave us the shirt off his back – a real nice Panasonic shirt! The folks at AirCell sent us on our way (domestically, speaking) with 8 hours of inflight Internet… gawd we were glued to the iPod screen. And yes, the domestic legs were shorter. We didn’t want to quit the “I am sending this to you from 30.000 feet” messages. We also have to mention and thank the folks at PopCap Games, Bookworm improved our spelling, but what really matters is our garden is now free from zombies (Plants vs Zombies). Lastly, a ‘thank you’ goes out to the AIX media folks who provided Wi-Fi and life-saving morning coffee.

Aircraft Interiors Expo, Hamburg, April 6, 2011 — The winners of the Crystal Cabin Award 2011 talked about their innovations during a press briefing at Aircraft Interiors Expo today. Last night seven awards were presented during an awards gala dinner with winners including Recaro Aircraft Seating, The IMS Company and Lufthansa Technik.

The award in the university category went to a team of three industrial design graduates from the Munich University of Applied Sciences. Under the guidance of the university’s Professor Peter Naumann, the team answered the brief of ‘Simply Fly’ from EADS Innovation Works to come up with its futuristic design concept.

Bianca Herberth, Marina Fischer and Veronika Ruml were studying at Munich University when they began working on the project in 2008. Known as Airgonomic, the seating concept utilises a special gel inside the seat back and cushion so it moulds to a passenger’s individual shape.

Bianca Herberth said: “We wanted to concentrate on short haul flights and the economy cabin so that this could be something that everyone could experience. We did a lot of research talking to doctors, ergonomic experts and so on and discovered that only certain areas of the back need to be supported to be comfortable – from this we were able to design the seat using less material than usual and hence its unusual shape.”

The team built a couple of mock ups to test the concept on a range of passenger shapes and sizes. “It is still in development but it could take around 15 to 20 years to realise so this is just the first step,” said Herberth.

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.”

Aircraft Interiors Portal Will Keep Attendees Up-To-Date Throughout Their Time At The Event

Aircraft Interiors Expo, Hamburg – April 4, 2011 — Following last year’s success, OnAir, the global inflight and on-board connectivity provider, announced today that it has teamed up again with Reed Exhibitions, the world’s leading organiser of trade and consumer events, to launch Aircraft Interiors Expo mobile portal held at the Hamburg Messe in Germany from April 5th to 7th 2011.

Accessing the portal directly on their smart phone, Aircraft Interiors Expo attendees will have the opportunity to keep up-to-date and fully informed on news and show information. Visitors will be able to view daily schedules, be kept aware of any changes to the programme, find an exhibitor, or simply navigating around the exhibition itself by simply visiting www.aixnow.com/

Ian Dawkins, OnAir CEO, expressed delight about the renewed co-operation with Reed Exhibitions and with the portal in general: “Staying up-to-date on information via the portal will ensure delegates make best use of their time during the exhibition. It gives them extra flexibility and more of an opportunity to plan – the same benefits as airline passengers get when they use the OnAir service as they travel.”

OnAir is located on Stand number Hall B6 StandG30b, where the company is showcasing its full onboard connectivity offering.

Don’t Forget: Aircraft Interiors Expo – Hamburg, Germany, April 5 – 7

We thought our readers might want a peek into some new IFE products at next week’s AIX, so we contacted a few friends and sponsors and asked -What’s new? Here are a few of the responses we got back:

1.Company Name: The IMS Company
Website: www.imsco-us.com
2. Booth Number: 6B10
3. Product Lines: AVOD System, Portable Media Players, Wireless Data and Content Delivery System
4. Show Highlights: Certified InFlight Entertainment – RAVE is the latest innovation in Audio/Video On Demand, offering a simple system architecture and providing the highest reliability of any in-seat design. RAVE – We currently have five customer programs, of which two were recently announced for Air Berlin and SriLankan Airlines. More announcement are scheduled for release before and during the show. Portables – EDGE is the hottest portable media player on the market, featuring various size displays, sleek new designs and a 24-hour battery. Content and Data Services – Our 4th-generation Terminal Data Loader provides the latest technology for fast loading of digital IFE content and automatic bi-directional distribution of critical data.
5. Contact Information: Harry Gray, V.P. Sales & Marketing; +1(714) 854-8633; hgray@imsco-us.com

1.Company Name: Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems
2. Booth Number: 6D30
3. Product Line(s): In-flight Entertainment Products
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights:
Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES), the world leader of in-seat power systems, continues to experience increasing demand for its EmPower® products as more and more passengers carry onboard a multitude of powered devices. The continued growth and installations of Wi-Fi on aircraft has increased the demand even more. Most airlines installing new data services on their aircraft are also installing in-seat power and in most cases, in all classes of service. In support of this demand, Astronics has responded with their latest industry leading EmPower® in-seat power system which produces up to an industry leading 200VA for each passenger. This cutting edge system also includes a Universal Serial Bus (USB) power output for passenger devices such as smart phones, iPods, cameras, and other standard +5 Volt DC devices. This is all accomplished in a smaller form factor than previous generations of the industry leading EmPower® product line.
Astronics’ AES patented power management and control technologies are key to the success of providing passengers with PED power, IFE, and connectivity solutions scalable on any aircraft platform. Stop by booth 6D30 to view the full line of in-seat power and intelligent power solution products on display.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: LeAnn Hurst, (425) 702-4943 or leann.hurst@astronics.com

1. Company Name: Goodrich
Website: Goodrich Interiors
2. Booth Number: 6G84
3. Product Line(s): Head End Video and Audio File Servers
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: None Provided
5. Contact Information for Appointments: dan.vargas@goodrich.com

1. Company Name: THALES
Website: www.thales-ifs.com
2. Booth Number: 6B20
3. Product Line(s): Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Systems and Services
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Thales will unveil its next generation TopSeries System architecture, feature product installations in B/E, Weber, Recaro, and Contour seats, introduce a new App store for the award winning Touch Passenger Control Unit, and show the latest in connectivity solutions.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: linda.bensadoun@us.thalesgroup.com

1. Company Name: VT Miltope
Website: www.miltope.com
2. Booth Number: 6G35
3. Product Line(s): Aviation network products
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Miltope’s family of network products offer the required functionality necessary to create custom airborne networks similar to how office networks are created. Designed to be readily expanded, they may be configured to define a network that optimizes the combination of interfaces and computing resources to meet the operational, spatial, and functional requirements of simple to complex airborne networks at a minimum cost. Products include servers, Ethernet switches and routers, 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless access points, TWLU wireless bridging from an aircraft LAN to a ground LAN, ARINC 744 network printers and ARINC740 cockpit printer, cabin control panels, and data storage devices.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Markus Gilges Tel: +44 7793 758755, Email: markus.gilges@miltope.com

1. Company Name: digEcor, Inc.
Website: www.digEcor.com
2. Booth Number: #6B1
3. Product Line(s): digEplayer L Series, digEplayer XT, handheld and overhead content, ancillary revenue services
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: We will be showing the digEplayer L7, which has launched on seven airlines since it’s release last summer, and available support equipment, to include the streamlined, plug-n-play content update station. We will also be showcasing, for the first time, a completely redesigned and modernized user interface that takes advantage of the sensitive touch screen available on the L7.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Adam Williams, awilliams@digEcor.com, 1-801-489-2031

1. Company Name: Carlisle Interconnect Technologies
Website: www.CarlisleIT.com
2. Booth Number: 6B40
3. Product Line(s): Carlisle Interconnect Technologies is one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of high-performance cable including fiber; RF/Microwave, specialty and filtered connectors; cable assemblies; complex harnesses; integrated installation kits and ARINC trays; racks and shelf assemblies, and offers engineering and certification services with DER, DAR, and DMIR personnel on staff.
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Carlisle Interconnect Technologies is proud to introduce our LITEflight™ Optical HD (high density) cable and assembly solution to support the next generation of bandwidth hungry applications. Visit our booth to see the a demo of how capable CarlisleIT’s fiber is handling in some of the most extreme routing and clamping tests from a company that terminates more fiber optic cable than anyone else in the world.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Kris Samuelson 011 253 318 0768

1. Company Name: Lumexis
Website: www.lumexis.com
2. Booth Number: 6H40
3. Product Line(s): Fiber Optic IFE System
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Lumexis is introducing its new line of HD “sleek-look” seatback monitors for its Fiber to the Screen® IFE system. The family consists of 8.9”, 12.1”, and 15.4” LCDs that are all without bezel and flush with the seatback installation. All the sleek line monitors are LED-backlit, 16:9 format with true 720P HD at each seat simultaneously with Projected Capacitive touchscreens. The new monitors are available with an interface panel on the bottom with audio headset jack, USB port, credit card swipe and PSS buttons (for widebody aircraft), or the interfaces can be mounted separately per the airlines choice of location.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Don Sathern dsathern@lumexis.com or cell: 949 861 0733

1. Company Name: Panasonic Avionics
Website: www.panasonic.aero
2. Booth Number: 6F15
3. Product Line(s): In-Flight Entertainment and Communications Solutions and Maintenance Services
4. Description of AIX Show Highlights: Panasonic Avionics is set to unveil its 10th generation IFEC solution at AIX. The company will also unveil its latest solutions that offer native amazing passenger experience, a lower total cost of ownership, broadband connectivity, a true business platform, open platform architectures, uncompromising industrial design, and an advanced media strategy.
5. Contact Information for Appointments: Please stop by the Panasonic Avionics booth to arrange for a booth tour.

PlaneBill, the Android App developer, will be in the Triagnosys Booth and Massimo sent along his brochure on Mobile Applications for Passengers. Yes that’s right, we expect to see passenger apps on IFE in the very near future.

Public Service Announcement: For our Wi-Fi equipped friends and show-goers, there is a free Internet zone on the exhibition floor and it is located in Hall B7 Stand A10.

Mark April 5 – 7, 2011 on your calendar and plan to be in Hamburg for Europe’s big Aircraft Interiors bash two weeks from today! You can get the full story here (www.aircraftinteriorsexpo.com). We asked for a couple IFE news teasers from the AIX folks to give you a very small peek into what awaits in Hamburg:

Intelligent Avionics
New IFE supplier Intelligent Avionics is making its Aircraft Interiors Expo debut and will be launching its production ready, seat-integrated AURA system, in an economy class configuration. The company says AURA is an integrated, multi-touch, gesture controlled entertainment and communication system, suitable for all cabin classes, and it is more than 2000 pounds lighter than other comparable audio-video on demand (AVOD) systems.

 IFE Services
Demonstrating the PlayStation Portable (PSP) as a handheld entertainment system at the exhibition, IFE Services is working in conjunction with Sony Computer Entertainment America. The company says there are currently seven airlines offering the PSP device to passengers either for renting during the flight or on a complimentary basis as part of the business class experience. 

Vision Systems
The VisiTouch system will be demonstrating their revolutionary seat display at AIX. Integrated into a setbacks, the company says their AVOD system is easy to install and maintain thanks to the design of the mounting plate, which installs onto the seat. Customization options include different colors for the screen frames so airlines can color coordinate with their livery. Further, passengers can adjust the tilt of the screen for optimum viewing Each screen has an embedded memory module that links to a central VisiBox. The designed to avoid data network bottlenecks during flights.”

About the location: Hamburg is one of the world’s most important locations for the civil aviation industry. Three key players, Airbus Deutschland, Lufthansa Technik and Hamburg Airport, along with more than 300 small and medium-sized enterprises, employing over 39,000 people between them, as well as, a variety of scientific and technological institutions… all contribute their know-how and expertise. The Hamburg Metropolitan Region is widely considered to be an international center of expertise in aircraft cabins and cabin systems. The city is also home to the annual Crystal Cabin Award, the prize for innovation in the field of aircraft cabins. Aircraft Interiors Expo, which is organized in co-operation with the Hamburg Messe & Congress (HMC), is being held for the tenth consecutive year at Hamburg’s premier events venue.

March 3, 2011 — No time to fit in a reflexology session before jetting off to an important business meeting? VIP and business jet passengers who want to make the most of their flying time can now book a range of relaxation and beauty treatments to take place on the aeroplane thanks to Beauty Air.

The company is exhibiting for the first time at Aircraft Interiors Expo this year, which takes place from 5 – 7 April in Hamburg, in the dedicated German Pavilion for Young & Innovative Companies. Beauty Air’s treatments include reflexology and neck and shoulder massages to relax and energise passengers before they arrive at their destination. The company’s trained flight attendants and beauticians can also be booked to help passengers prepare for events such as photoshoots and personal appearances.

Beauty Air is also planning to set up spa outlets within airports so that passengers can book treatments during their waiting time before they board a flight.

An important aviation trend in the last few years has been the increased use of composite and hybrid materials inside aircraft. This is beginning to have a significant impact on maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) processes, according to another German Pavilion exhibitor, NobleTek. The company says this trend, combined with airlines seeking ways to minimise the amount of down time aircraft experience while being overhauled, is prompting MRO providers to come up with more efficient processes.

NobleTek is launching an innovative product for the MRO market in Hamburg. It has developed an application with maintenance and repair instructions for cabin interior monuments, such as overhead storage bins and galleys, that runs from an Apple iPad. The document management system is highly accurate as it accesses the latest database of relevant information; the progress of each project can also be tracked online. The idea is based on the SIEMENS Teamcenter MRO solution, and NobleTek estimates that MRO process times could be reduced by 25 percent using this technology.

Other exhibitors in the pavilion include F.S.P. which creates both paper and non-woven material products such as non-skid traymats, hot towels, napkins and pillow and headrest covers for the airline industry. The company supplies traymats and napkins made from a clever new material called Top Tex; this is 100 percent compostable, making it better for the environment, but it is also latex free meaning it is suitable for allergy sufferers too.

Eight exhibitors have been accepted to appear in Aircraft Interiors Expo’s first German Pavilion which is located in Hall B4. Each company is receiving financial support from a scheme run by the German Government to help young German firms to promote their products and services at accredited trade fairs.

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (the BMWi) now includes Aircraft Interiors Expo among its respected list of international trade fairs. A number of criteria had to be met for the exhibiting companies to qualify for the scheme which subsidises 80 per cent of the cost of exhibiting at an event. Other German Pavilion exhibitors include Aircraft Technics HAM, Capable Technologies, Gurucad, MBA Electronic Systems and Wiko-Technik.

Aircraft Interiors Expo Exhibition Director, Katie Murphy, said: “It is great to see such a diverse range of cabin interiors suppliers participating in our first dedicated German Pavilion for Young & Innovative Companies. The exhibition offers them all a wonderful opportunity to increase their profile in the aircraft interiors industry; we hope that other potential pavilion exhibitors will visit the event this year and then apply to join next year’s pavilion.”

February 9, 2011 — Passenger demand is growing once again and passenger expectation levels also appear to be increasing. Both these factors have an impact on an airline’s cabin interior. The world’s largest event that encapsulates everything that is happening within the cabin environment, Aircraft Interiors Expo, is taking place at the Hamburg Messe in Germany, from 5 – 7 April.

Increased expectations of what the cabin interior should provide cover everything from more comfort and convenience to inflight entertainment. Picking up on the theme of comfort, one of the major product focus areas of Aircraft Interiors Expo is new seat designs. With business travellers starting to return to business class in healthier numbers it is anticipated that new business class designs will be on show at the event as airlines look around for innovative ideas to enable their growth plans in this area.

New designs for the economy cabin space will also be shown. Italian seat manufacturer Aviointeriors is using the exhibition as the launch platform for its UltraLight Plus economy, short range seating system. The system has been specifically designed and engineered for 28” pitch installations and is made up of a mixture of aluminium and composite panels allowing for increased passenger comfort and a larger living space at 28” pitch.

Inflight entertainment and connectivity is still a buzzing sector with today’s passengers hoping for IFEC systems on even relatively short flights. Aircraft Interiors Expo devotes a whole zone to this subject. Recent trends here include providers increasingly working in conjunction with seat designers and manufacturers to produce more integrated and lightweight products. New IFE supplier Intelligent Avionics is making its Aircraft Interiors Expo debut and will be launching its production ready, seat-integrated AURA system, in an economy class configuration. The company says AURA is an integrated, multi-touch, gesture controlled entertainment and communication system, suitable for all cabin classes, that is more than one tonne lighter than other comparable audio-video on demand (AVOD) systems.

Meanwhile French IFE supplier Vision Systems’ will be promoting its new VisiTouch system. Integrated into a seatback, this AVOD system claims to be easy to install and maintain thanks to the design of the plate which fixes it on the seat. Customisation options include different colours for the screen frames so airlines can choose what suits their onboard livery best, while passengers can adjust the tilt of the screen to the optimum viewing position for them. Each screen has an embedded memory module, which links to a central VisiBox unit, and is designed to avoid data network bottlenecks during flights.

Demonstrating the PlayStation Portable (PSP) as a handheld entertainment system at the exhibition, IFE Services is working in conjunction with Sony Computer Entertainment America. The company says there are currently seven airlines offering the PSP device to passengers either for renting during the flight or on a complimentary basis as part of the business class experience.

Katie Murphy, Exhibition Director of Aircraft Interiors Expo, says: “Time and again this exhibition has acted as the launch pad for many cabin interior programmes and innovative new products. We expect this year to be no different with our exhibitors displaying the designs of tomorrow to the world’s airline buyers. The beauty of the event is that we incorporate the breadth of products that cover the whole cabin experience.”

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.”

December 16, 2010 — Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (the BMWi) is lending its support to Aircraft Interiors Expo for the first time this year. The BMWi has now included the exhibition within its prestigious list of international trade fairs and has opened up its exhibition attendance scheme to innovative, young German companies to help them participate in the 2011 show.

With the help of German Trade Fair Association, AUMA, which represents the interests of Germany’s exhibition industry, the idea is to support small German companies looking to market innovative products for the cabin interior by subsidising 80 per cent of their cost of exhibiting.

To be eligible the companies need to meet a number of criteria, as well as funding the remainder of the exhibiting costs themselves. This initiative offers a really tangible boost to German businesses that have been operating for less than a decade and have no more than 50 employees, as well as an annual turnover below €10 million.

Aircraft Interiors Expo is creating a dedicated German Pavilion for companies exhibiting via this scheme. The pavilion will be located in Hall B4 and will include a catering area as well as a place for companies to hold meetings with visitors.

Companies interested in taking up this offer need to apply by initially completing the form at www.aircraftinteriorsexpo.com/germanpavilion. From there applications will be forwarded to the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) for consideration.

Aircraft Interiors Expo Exhibition Director, Katie Murphy, said: “We are delighted that AUMA has recognised the importance of Aircraft Interiors Expo as the international marketplace for innovation in the cabin interior. The event obviously attracts both exhibitors and airline buyers from around the globe so the financial incentive that AUMA offers could make a significant difference to a young German company looking to access or grow within the aircraft interiors market.”

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.