United Kingdom | April 12, 2016– The 2016 edition of Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) broke new records in terms of attendance, and set the industry agenda for the year ahead with more exhibitors than ever showcasing and launching new products.

16,000 industry executives are estimated to have attended Passenger Experience Week, from 5th – 7th April, whilst the number of VIP airline attendees rose by 14% – many of whom were senior executives from more than 180 airlines located in 26 markets across the globe.

There were more than 530 exhibitors at this year’s AIX –– with 145 companies exhibiting for the first time.

AIX was the platform for many new orders and partnerships. Airbus unveiled TAP Portugal as the first airline to fly its Airbus A330neo. The Portuguese carrier will also be the first to take its new “Airspace” cabin which was on display at AIX.

Mirus Aircraft Seating, exhibiting for the first time at the show, announced their first ever order from Air Asia to retrofit 386 of its in-service and on-order Airbus A320s and A320neos with its light-weight Hawk economy class seat. This will see the seating manufacturer supply over 70,000 seats to the airline, whilst Recaro announced that they will be partnering with Singapore Airlines to supply 14,000 CL3710 economy class seats on board the airline’s A380s, and its on-order A350s and Boeing 787s next year.

AIX played host to a high number of new and innovative products and services on display, giving valuable insights into the future of the passenger experience, whilst demonstrating cost effective solutions for airlines. Zotefoams showed how by using their foam rather than solid plastic parts for installations, airlines can achieve 50% weight reductions.

Also revealing innovative materials to transform the cabin was JCB Aero, which has developed their first carbon composite material to be approved for use in commercial and transport cabins. 3D printing is also making its way into the sky, with Sabic showing how their Ultrem 9085 resin materials can produce an economy seat all through 3D printing.

In AIX’s IFEC Zone, which grew by almost a third in 2016 many leading industry companies showcased their newest technologies designed to keep passengers entertained and connected. Lumexis were giving visitors a look at their latest generation of its fibre optics-based in-flight entertainment system. The supplier’s FTTS (fibre-to-the-screen) Gem-4 includes a large seatback touchscreen and features a Flightpath 3D interactive moving map.

Panasonic Avionics displayed their Waterfront concept seat, which includes 4K viewing amongst a host of other features such as inductive charging and temperature and positon control of your seat all via the passenger’s mobile phone. The unique partnership with B/E Aerospace, Teague and Formation Design Group to develop this seat has resulted in a business class seat that elevates the flying experience with sophisticated technology.

ViaSat were speaking about their new ViaSat-3 satellite which offers the capacity to meet growing customer demand to stream content of their own choosing to their own personal devices, which they believe will eventually outgrow embedded IFE solutions.

The week also brought us a number of new gadgets and technology innovations for the cabin which will help to transform the passenger experience. Skylights, the French IFE technology specialist, displayed their 3D “cinematic” glasses, bringing the movie experience from the ground up to 30,000 ft. Skycast showcased the TabCaddyClip – a tablet computer holder that fixes to seatback tray tables, whilst the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) unveiled 3D simulation goggles as a way of assisting anxious flyers.

Polly Magraw, Event Manager of Aircraft Interiors Expo, said: “This has been another record year for Aircraft Interiors Expo with increasing numbers of companies from across the globe recognising that this is the event to launch and showcase new innovations in the passenger experience.

“The marked increase in the number of VIP Airline visitors clearly demonstrates the airline sector’s appetite for the new products that AIX showcases.”

AIX was preceded by the Passenger Experience Conference, which saw more than50 speakers from across the passenger experience industry sharing insights with some 400 delegates from airlines, suppliers, designers and the media.

Another show event celebrating innovation and bringing key industry players together was the 10th annual Crystal Cabin Awards, hosted by Hamburg Aviation and sponsored by AIX which took place on the evening of the opening day of AIX. Eight innovators were honoured for bringing exciting insight into the future of aviation. Rebel.Aero’s picked up first prize in the Passenger Comfort Hardware category for their economy class booster seat, whilst Etihad Airways won the Cabin Concepts prize for its project with Acumen Design for their original use of seating space in the cabin with 787 First Suites. B/E Aerospace also took home a top prize, this time for its Viu Flex Lighting System, which illuminates almost every space in the cabin. Other prize winners included Lufthansa Systems, for its Board Connect Portable, The Boeing Company for its “Clean Cabin- Fresh Lavatory”, Sekisui SPI for its ”Infused Imaging”, Delft University of Technology’s hammock-shaped headrest, and Zodiac Aerospace’s Lifestyle Cabin.

Aircraft Interiors Expo next takes place 4-6 April 2017, Hamburg, Germany.

Hamburg, Germany | April 6, 2016– Manon Kűhne from the Technical University Delft, in collaboration with Zodiac Aerospace, has won the Crystal Cabin Award with the HeadRest concept.

The HeadRest offers a subtle way to retreat within the space of an economy seat during long-haul flights. Unfolding the side wings of the HeadRest reveals a hammock construction which cradles the passenger’s head as leaning sidewards, preventing sliding and nodding. The side wings offer privacy at eye level with the subtle act of adjusting the passenger’s HeadRest for sleeping or relaxing. This provides a feeling of increased autonomy, control and privacy, which are important factors for experiencing comfort.

Since the establishment of a Human Factors and Ergonomics Lab at Zodiac Seats US, a subsidiary of Zodiac Aerospace Group, a small group of talented specialists and gifted young scientist are working on the challenging task to increase comfort in modern air travel. Within this effort, the cooperation with Professor Dr. Peter Vink of the TU Delft developed to be a very fruitful endeavor for both students and Zodiac Seats. Students are given the opportunity to work on real live projects that can have a direct impact on the experience of flight and make traveling stress free and enjoyable again.

Dr. Udo Schultheis, Director of Human Factors and Ergonomics of Zodiac Seats US, comments: “ Manon Manon Kűhne is a very talented designer who had a great idea and did a fantastic job in realizing her headRest project. I am convinced that a lot of travelers will enjoy the fruits of this product in future”.

Hamburg, Germany | April 6, 2016– Zodiac Aerospace is proud to announce that its Lifestyle Cabin concept won the design award for Visionary Concept. “We are honored our efforts have been recognized by jury of the Crystal Cabin Award. It’s an award recognizing our continuous innovation efforts to go beyond current habits and models to reach an unmatched experience in the air”, said Laurent Stritter, VP Marketing & Products Strategy of Zodiac Seats.

In 2015, at Aircraft Interior Expo, Zodiac Seats unveiled the 1/20th scale aircraft 3D model representing a new passenger cabin design: The Lifestyle Cabin. This concept, created in collaboration with the Design agency London based, Territory, demonstrates a reclassification of classes away from a hierarchical system

Luke Miles, Director at New Territory commented: “Working in partnership with Zodiac Seats, we identified new consumer attitudes that will shape the future of aircraft interior design and the onboard passenger ‘journey’. Our brief was to ensure that the design met these changing consumer needs and define a more immersive travel experience, which will ultimately boost revenue streams for airlines.”

With only a small percentage of capacity reduction, different revenue streams are created using berths, modular seating and self-service points. The three key themes of the concept are:

  • Creating a more human experience onboard the aircraft that promotes passengers’ well-being.
  • Challenging the architecture of today’s platforms and creating new customer experiences within them.
  • Exploring new ways to support airlines in differentiating themselves and generating additional revenue streams amidst an increasingly competitive market.

This concept shapes a new future for the aerospace industry to illustrate possible aircraft interior design for ten years’ time

Aircraft Interiors (AIX and PEC) is now the biggest show in IFEC each year. It got that way because there was a need for a centralized European and Middle East source of information, communication, demonstration and celebration of the IFEC experience, as well as, being located at the same venue for over ten years. With over 530 exhibitors this year, there was a wealth of innovative products and services on display last week in Hamburg Germany. IFExpress was told that over 16,000 visitors attended the event (Entrance is free – good idea.), and of course, we covered as many booths that we thought our readers might find both interesting and useful, and that caught our fancy. Obviously, it will take a few weeks to get the story of our visits out so stay tuned on that front. Pictures will be on the website soon so keep watch there as well.

In case you did not go, there are a couple things about the show you should know. First, the expo consists of two parts – the first day (Monday) is comprised of a Passenger Experience Conference. It is a one-day inflight data extravaganza and covers almost every facet of the inflight experience with lectures, small meeting/discussion forums, and culminates in a useful food and beverage entertainment party. The next 3 days are dedicated to the exhibition show with over 530 exhibitors.

Second, there are the Crystal Cabin Awards, below are a few of the winners:
Cabin Systems class – B/E Aerospace
Electronic Systems – Lufthansa Systems
Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment – Boeing
Visionary Concepts – Zodiac Aerospace … and more. You can find the complete winners list here

Like last year, there was an IFEC Zone comprised of three of the total AIX zones and an App to help sort it out. The IFE Zone had 102 exhibitors and grew by 31% over 2015. The App is designed to enhance your experience before, during and after the show, by putting the following features and information at your fingertips:
3D Floor plan with routeplanner features information about walking distances between the halls
Find exhibitors by category to view profiles and to add to your list of favorites
• View the exhibitor’s products
• View the full four-day event program and speaker listings
• Take a look at the features that are at the exhibition including Wi-Fi areas
General and venue information to help plan your journey
My Event – perfect for storing your favorite exhibitors and sessions
Guide to Hamburg to help see what Hamburg has to offer including hotels, restaurants and in case you have time local attractions
• And yes, you could take a selfie with their personalized background

In summary then, the AIX folks note the following show statistics and info: “16,000 industry executives are estimated to have attended Passenger Experience Week, from 5th – 7th April, whilst the number of VIP airline attendees rose by 14% – many of whom were senior executives from more than 180 airlines located in 26 markets across the globe. There were more than 530 exhibitors at this year’s AIX –– with 145 companies exhibiting for the first time. AIX was preceded by the Passenger Experience Conference, which saw more than 50 speakers from across the passenger experience industry sharing insights with some 400 delegates from airlines, suppliers, designers and the media.”


The folks at AIX note: Defining the future of the passenger experience industry, the Passenger Experience Conference is the leading global conference and networking forum delivering content, driving innovation and developing connections to transform your business. Check out the program and speakers here

One of the best part of the flying future is the potential for onboard purchases, as many speakers at the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) meeting on Monday stated. One presenter noted that the folks at GuestLogix pegged onboard sales in 2014 around $1.8B worldwide. Beverages were 58% of the total, food was 38.2%, while “Passenger Comfort” was given at 3.8%. The interesting part was the growth – 11% per year! Part of this is attributable to the airlines reduction of free items; however, this kind of growth is indicative of a couple things. First, passengers have money to purchase items, that is proof of the growth rate, but further, as an area of purchasing potential, the cabin is ripe. Thus, there is a growing market for providing a way to purchase more on the plane is an obvious potential. We should also mention that Visa and MasterCard also exhibited 10 and 13.6 % growth, respectively, in the same period. Further, off-line limits are in the $100 to $200 range, while on-line sales via the credit card world has no limits. The authentication process is delivering real-time proof-of-ownership status with the bank that issues the card (and a real-time Lost/Stolen card status as well). Obviously, connectivity and credit card sales onboard have a future on aircraft and folks like IFPL are prepping the technology for that eventuality.


One of the early show surprises was the involvement of Google with IFEC and we can thank Joe Leader of APEX for their inclusion. By using their world class data aggregation and knowledge data base capability, the folks at Google see a connection to this business in the pre-flight, in-flight, and the post-flight regimes by helping to extend the engagement window and shortening the rebooking cycle. In flight, they see the capacity of helping the connected passenger to experience a better, personalized experience, and finally, enabling ancillary revenue growth for products and post flight services. Google has a part in the future of air travel… they think so and so does APEX.

On the same note, Joe Leader of APEX, see’s a world of data assisted passenger experiences and kicked off their announcement of an Official Airline Rating program. Beginning with seats and product catalogs, the APEX view talks about high effectiveness and high airline control over the eventual personalization of the travel experience and the resulting “differentiated” airline in the evolution process. Of course, the issue is data and while passengers (74% on average) are comfortable using technology when they travel, there is a plethora of apps available, fewer are really used. He noted that an average of 80 are device installed, only 25% are seemingly used for the travel process. While the numbers may be higher than you or I use, the issue is one of data obfuscation – too many apps, and a better way to use them is needed. In the next few years as Joe noted, there will need to be an interoperability between apps, Facebook, and Google. There also needs to be a friendlier branding eco-structure in the ticket process… and thus there needs to be a neutral party to pull the process together. In essence, he sees a future airline rating system that can know and confirm validity for all airlines (Tall order!). Next, it has to be useful to passengers beyond travel and since there are over 10 million active users, this tool has value. Further, the tool that Joe is proposing has to correctly use feedback and exhibit some neutral bias such as a non-profit position because it has to provide non-conflicting results to the airlines. Thus, he proposed OfficialAirlineRatings (TM) (patent pending), which will be validated flight ratings for worldwide airlines by the passengers… this is a global project.  He expects the data service to begin this summer and time will tell if airlines will get in bed with this passenger response driven system.

From a data point of view, APEX plans to analyze subjective data from passengers, use objective data captured from actual sources like seat measurements and IFE capability and availability. We expect APEX to calibrate and review the data and sources by flying the airline noted routes (hopefully announced), and provide raw data and awards as the final output for the effort. Make no mistake, this is no easy challenge because the airline involvement is key and we will wait to see if APEX can corral the airlines into this program – lofty goal, hard to do in practice. IFExpress wishes APEX the best on this program because it establishes a common goal for measurement but historically, this has been hard to achieve.


  • AIRBUS’ launch customer for the Airspace by Airbus cabin is TAP Portugal’s 14 A330-900neos. The new Airspace by Airbus has a LED mood lighting system, larger overhead bins, new lavatories, a new welcome area and the latest innovations in IFE and connectivity.
  • SINGAPORE AIRLINES selected STELIA AEROSPACE, to design and manufacture their new business class seats.
  • ROCKWELL COLLINS and THALES  were selected by Airbus to supply high-bandwidth connectivity (HBC) solution for A320s, A330s and A380s; companies will collaborate with Airbus to develop and deploy line-fit and retrofit systems.
  • Hainan Airlines selected THALES to supply Android-based AVANT IFE for its new A330s. Deliveries start in the second half of 2017.
  • PANASONIC AVIONICS eXO overhead IFE system was selected by Saudi Arabian Airlines for 30 A320s currently on order.
  • STG AEROSPACE launched new saf-Tglo blu photoluminescent floor path system that uses a cool blue glow instead of the traditional green glow, and liTeMood LED a newplug-and-play replacement for incandescent reading lights on the 737NGs. They also secured Design Organisation Approval (DOA) from EASA.  Additionally, STG Aerospace expands its emergency and informational cabin signage product range with Malaysia Airlines. Lastly, Eastern Airlines improves passenger experience by installing STG Aerospace’s LED mood lighting system.
    Summit selected TELEFONIX PDT to secure STC for its IFEC hardware for 737-700/800/900ER.
  • HAMBURG AVIATION presented 2016 Crystal Cabin Awards to B/E AEROSPACE (Cabin Systems), BOEING (Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment), ETIHAD(Cabin Concepts),  LUFTHANSA SYSTEMS (Electronic Systems),  REBEL.AERO (Passenger Comfort Hardware), SEKISUI SPI (Material and Components), TU DELFT (University) and ZODIAC(Visionary Concepts).
  • AFI KLM E&M received an EASA STC to install ROCKWELL COLLINS PAVES PSS on A330.
  • ROCKWELL COLLINS announced a new virtual training simulator for maintenance and operation of its seat-centric PAVES and overhead IFE systems. Rockwell Collins was also selected by AIR ASTANA to provide onboard broadband connectivity
  • GORE unveiled HDMI 2.0 cables to provide higher video resolution for IFE systems.
  • GOGO released: From the Ground Up: How the Internet of Things will Give Rise to Connected Aviation, which was created to spark an industry wide conversation about how the Internet of Things will reshape aviation. Free Also, GOGO partnered with Airbus Corporate Jet Centre to install 2Ku technology on new A350 aircraft. Delta Air Lines will take delivery of 2Ku-equipped A350s in 2017.
  • FOKKER SERVICES displayed iShade dimmable technology integrated into its new panoramic window at AIX.
  • INMARSAT to enhance airline passenger broadband offering with roadmap for aviation capacity growth. Global Xpress will serve as the foundation of an integrated global network that can be shaped to fit any airline route system and built upon to meet future demand.
  • INFLIGHT DUBLIN strikes worldwide IFE agreement with Sony Music.
  • DMD (Dawson Media Direct) welcomes digital media expert Andrew Wiltshire to head Digiredoo their digital newspaper and magazine delivery service to airlines independent airport lounges and major rail operators across the world.
  • MEZZOGLOBAL launched low cost wireless In-Flight Passenger Entertainment App for Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD).
  • PANASONIC AVIONICS is first to offer NFC Technology with multiple aircraft OEMs.
  • ASTRONICS CORPORATION awarded Emergency Lighting and Passenger Service Unites (PSU) contract for the Embraer E2 program.
  • SITA released that Australia Border Exit Checks are now powered by SITA’s advanced technology. Automatic advance security checks now being run on all passengers exiting Australia.

Lastly, we apologize to those folks we missed at AIX. We tried but it has finally come down to time versus the number of IFEC displays and presentations. If you have something you want to say, send it to us and we will get your message out… we hope!

  • At the world’s leading industry show, the Aircraft Interiors Expo, the trends in international aviation will once again be presented in Hamburg from 5 – 7 April.

Hamburg | March 30, 2016– Touchscreen monitors in television format – even for economy passengers. Lighting concepts that minimise jetlag and can project complex imagery on the cabin ceiling. Armrests for business class where simply putting your smartphone down is enough for it to automatically be recharged. And an app that allows you to follow the progress of your flight on your own mobile device. Aircraft Interiors Expo, the cabin industry trade fair in Hamburg (5 – 7 April), is a fixed date that the world’s major airlines cannot afford to miss. And not just them, either: The event defines international trends for the entire civil aviation sector, from economy class all the way up to private jets. As part of the trade fair, the “Oscars” of the aircraft cabin industry are also presented – the Crystal Cabin Award, launched by Hamburg Aviation and celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

The Aircraft Interiors Expo is being held at Hamburg’s Messehallen Trade Fair for the 15th time this year. Over the years, it has become established as a major event in the city’s trade fair calendar, and it is growing year by year. This year will see more than 530 exhibitors from some 30 nations presenting to over 10,000 visitors from the industry – with an exhibition space equivalent to almost 130 tennis courts. Three of the seven exhibition halls are dedicated to the field with the strongest growth: on-board entertainment and connectivity. Once again, the affiliated World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo is being held in parallel at the Trade Fair site. The exhibition week begins on Monday, 4 April when high-ranking figures from the industry gather at Congress Center Hamburg (CCH) for presentations and discussions in the Passenger Experience Conference.

Hamburg the world’s largest competency center for aircraft cabins

Many of the exhibitors at Aircraft Interiors Expo are already based in Hamburg. The metropolitan region is the world’s largest competency center in the field of aircraft cabins, one of the aviation industries most important growth areas. The global cabin research operations of Hamburg’s biggest employer, Airbus, are located at the company’s site in Finkenwerder, Hamburg, and the manufacturer is one of the largest exhibitors at the trade fair. Just recently, the company presented its “Airspace by Airbus” long-haul cabin concept, focussed on a combination of design and a comfortable environment. Lufthansa Technik, another heavyweight amongst the exhibitors at the trade fair, is presenting new entertainment products, seating concepts, or innovations for galleys such as an inductive cooking platform. And there are also innovations to be seen from Diehl Aerosystems, the third-biggest industrial employer in Hamburg’s aviation sector. The company is presenting various products and ideas, including a novel lighting concept for the aircraft cabin and an innovative fire extinguishing system for the cargo hold. The largest booth at the Expo in 2016, however, will once again be the Hanse Pavillion of Hamburg’s supplier association, Hanse-Aerospace, where more than 70 companies, mostly SMEs, will display their products and services – among them P3 engineering with the first halon-free fire extinguisher for aviation. Here, too, is Hamburg Aviation, along with the all new ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research, formally opened on 7 March, a beacon for cabin-related research worldwide (6B90 12.4).

Hamburg Minister for the Economy, Senator Horch, & State Secretary Zypries attending

“The Aircraft Interiors Expo has long been an indispensable event in the industry’s calendar. Hamburg is on show here – not just as host and at the same time home to important players in the field of cabins and on-board products, but also and above all as a global innovation center. What you see on display here today will be experienced by airline passengers tomorrow,” says Hamburg’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Transport and Innovation, Senator Frank Horch who will tour the trade fair on 6 April to see for himself the full spectrum of cabin trends, accompanied by the Parliamentary State Secretary for aerospace policy, Brigitte Zypries.

Crystal Cabin Award, aviation innovation prize, to be presented for 10th time

This year in particular, all eyes will be on the Crystal Cabin Award, a prize launched by Hamburg Aviation that is celebrating its 10th anniversary at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in 2016. The winners in the eight different categories of this year’s international “Cabin Oscars” will be announced at a formal ceremony on the evening of 5 April at the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski on the banks of the Alster. An overview of the 2016 finalists is available throughout the Aircraft Interiors Expo in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery in Hall B1 Upper. Here, too, the winners will present their concepts to visitors and the press in person on 6 April at 12:30 p.m.

  • The finalists have been announced for the 8 categories of the Crystal Cabin Award. The “Aircraft Cabin Oscars” will be presented for the 10th time this April.

Hamburg, Germany | March 2, 2016– These days it’s not just the aviation industry that looks to Hamburg when the Crystal Cabin Award is presented in Hamburg during the Aircraft Interiors Expo each year. The jury of international experts award the honours in eight different categories for game-changing innovations in the field of aircraft cabins and on- board products. In 2016, once again, a total of 24 finalists give a good overview of the trends and innovations that passengers and airline operators will encounter above the clouds in the years ahead – or maybe even now. Innovative lighting moods, sophisticated entertainment systems, and clever ideas for the efficient use of space are amongst this year’s highlights. In its tenth birthday year, the prize, initiated by the Hamburg Aviation cluster, has seen a record number of submissions, with 78 ideas from 18 different nations making it onto the shortlist. Eight of the 24 finalists will be taking one of the coveted trophies home on the evening of 5 April.

Some of the entries in the “Visionary Concepts” category have already attracted international attention recently. One of the finalists, Formation Design, has been turning heads with a concept that mixes First and Business Class. The key: passengers in the First Class suites are lying down above Business Class passengers. The Lifestyle concept from Zodiac Aerospace goes one step further and completely redesigns the cabin. Instead of the traditional, established class system, there are different areas – sitting, sleeping, meeting, and lounge. The third finalist in this bundle is breaking with every convention: Design studio TEAGUE has developed a fully new airline concept, Poppi. Companies can sponsor the unpopular middle seat, for example, using it to offer passengers free products and additional services. Passengers can also get to know one another before the flight in a social network.

Submissions for this year’s new “Cabin Concepts” category, aimed at airlines, are at a far more advanced stage of development. Etihad Airways, working together with Acumen Design, has made it to the final round for the second time in a row: ingenious use of space means that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner First Suite has the same creature comforts as their Airbus A380, despite a significantly smaller fuselage. Virgin Australia’s tangerine cabin is another airline concept that has made it to the final three. The designers have created a new cabin experience for the long-haul A330 and Boeing 777 fleet. Seymour Powell has also created a special cabin experience: The design agency aims to create a boutique hotel atmosphere above the clouds with First Spaces, complete with single and double rooms. The judging panel were inspired by the spacious concept, choosing the Londoners to complete the list of finalists in this category.

But the Crystal Cabin Award is not only there to inspire the wealthiest passengers. Numerous finalist innovations are also beneficial to Economy Class passengers – for example those in the “Electronic Systems” category. This includes the 2Ku technology developed by American company Gogo, guaranteeing stable broadband internet access in the sky for all passengers thanks to a double antenna on the aircraft roof. Lufthansa Systems, on the other hand, has focussed its attention on data transmission within the cabin. With the BoardConnect Portable solution, the crew can simply pick up a broadband router and carry it through the cabin. And for passengers who are more interested in outstanding entertainment than outstanding bandwidth, the Digital Sky from finalist Thales is sure to be a winner. The entire backrest of the seat in front can be used as a touchscreen, making for almost unlimited entertainment.

Entertainment on the cabin ceiling is on offer in the “Passenger Comfort Hardware” category. The German company Diehl Aerospace has been getting attention with its Dandelion concept. This allows for the complex projection of images or films in segments of the cabin, for example to create a relaxing or jetlag-reducing lighting mood. Rebel.Aero, on the other hand, made it into the final with an innovative Economy Class seat where the seat surface can be folded upwards, varying the seating position during the flight. It is ideal for taller passengers who would like to stretch their legs for a while even in Economy. The Waterfront Business Class Seat has brought TEAGUE into the final in another category. The new long-haul seat has a number of innovative elements, such as the ability to charge a smartphone by simply laying it on an inductive surface.

Clever use of induction technology is also behind Lufthansa Technik’s successful entry in another new category, “Cabin Systems”. The Hamburg company has developed an inductive hotplate allowing fresh meals to be prepared in the galley almost the same as at home. Diehl Service Modules have secured the company from Germany’s Franconia region with a second ticket to the final round, too: The Smart Galley’s modular construction makes it possible to reconfigure the galley at lightning speed. American company B/E Aerospace scored well with its flexible LED lighting system, Viu, which can even be installed in hard-to-get-to areas of the cabin and can create an endless variety of colour moods.

Whilst innovative lighting technologies can be experienced directly, other innovations in the cabin often take place “behind the scenes”. One example is in the “Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment” category, where Apparatebau Gauting reached the final round with an innovative and environmentally friendly fire extinguishing system for the cargo hold, spraying a mixture of water and nitrogen when things become serious. While passengers will never get to see Gauting’s innovation, it’s a different matter with the concept submitted by US aircraft manufacturer Boeing. The company has developed a more hygienic on-board toilet, the Fresh Lavatory, which incorporates not just cleaner surfaces but also innovative air filters. The third finalist in this category is Fraunhofer’s PYCO Institute. The German researchers have applied an environmentally friendly recycling process to composite materials used in the cabin.

New materials are also covered in the “Material & Components” category. The company F.LIST made it into the final with the first wooden floor certified for use in the aircraft cabin. This innovation is sure to bring the Austrian company to the attention of the VIP market. Much less glamourous for the passenger, but just as innovative, is the ERMS (Easy Release Modular System) concept, an innovative and significantly more efficient adjustment mechanism for backrests. Sekisui SPI also made it into the final round in this category with a thermoplastic surface design. The company’s technology, called Infused Imaging, allows for much more detailed and creative designs on cabin elements such as seat shells and partition walls.

Even before the awards ceremony in Hamburg, it is already clear the Crystal Cabin Award in the “University” category will go to Delft University of Technology this year. The Dutch university impressively stormed the awards this year, eliminating even last year’s winner, the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, to dominate the final round. This means that students will face off against their own colleagues at the awards ceremony in Hamburg. Manon Kuehne has an innovative headrest for Economy Class, Ting Yu Chen has a multimedia on-board lounge called “FiO”, and a team of six students has a concept study for a movable galley, “Modulair”.

The eight winners of the Crystal Cabin Award 2016 will be announced during the Aircraft Interiors Expo at a gala event to be held on the evening of 5 April at the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski in Hamburg. Speakers at this year’s dinner will include Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, and Brigitte Zypries, Germany’s Federal Parliamentary State Secretary for aerospace policy. First, all of the finalists have to personally answer the critical and probing questions of the 24 international experts on the judging panel – airline representatives, professors, aircraft manufacturer representatives, and journalists – and present their projects in an “elevator pitch”.