This year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo, which played host to the world’s largest display of aircraft interiors products and services, welcomed 8906 (pre-audit) visitors through its doors between April 9-11.  This was a 12% increase on the previous year. The exhibition featured over 500 exhibiting companies from 26 countries, covering a record floor space on 18,000 sq m – the largest footprint to date. Organized by Reed Exhibitions and taking place in Hamburg, Germany, the exhibition attracted over 750 airline representatives that were ideally placed to witness the launch of many new innovations in the cabin interior sector. Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity hosted numerous product launches and upgrades, including, TriaGnoSys’ AeroConnex+ which offers greater data streaming capabilities, integrated gatelink to 3G and 4G mobile phone networks and WLAN access point.  Another key feature is its weight at only 4kg, making it 20% lighter than its predecessor.  Panasonic Avionics used the exhibition to launch its new conceptual 14-inch monitor developed specifically with economy class in mind, while Lufthansa Systems unveiled its e-reader functionality for its BoardConnect Wireless IFE system.

As noted last week, over 300 delegates attended the Passenger Experience Conference that took place on 8th April at the CCH – Congress Center Hamburg. The audience, which included senior representatives of major airlines, air framers and cabin interiors suppliers, heard Tom Costley, Director, Head of Travel & Tourism, TNS UK give some encouraging news for the industry, saying that despite what looked like being a prolonged period of depressed global economic conditions, the travel and tourism sector was proving more resilient than most. The older generation, having both the desire and money to see the world, was a major driver.  Don’t miss this one next year, and be sure to sneak over to the Food & Catering show – it rocks!

To continue to fill in the product mix, this week we have a few more for you to check out while planning your new flying product. First, lets note the Cellular Terminal Wireless LAN Unit (cTWLU) from VT Miltope. The specs look impressive – Wireless gateway from an aircraft LAN to a ground based LAN: GSM/GPRS/EDGE, GSM HPSA+UMTS, LTE, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g and IEEE 802.11n (two points if you get the alphabet soup). This unit is a powerhouse! Contact Bob Guidetti for more information.

Kontron displayed their ACE Flight 600 (4MCU) General Purpose Airborne Server. Intel core i7 processor (Sandy Bridge) and 16 GB RAM – front removable SSD’s (nice touch) and an internal managed Ethernet switch. Input power is 115 VAC, 360 – 800 Hz, with 200 msec holdup. Contact Alan Manns, Business Development Manager.

Yukio Sugimoto was there and quite proud of his new 12″ widescreen retractable overhead display. This is a great product from the master himself – you can get more information from ACS by contacting Yuko Sugimoto, President ACS. Check it out, Boeing and Airbus!

In case you are interested in the state of colored LED lighting, the folks at Bruce Aerospace kindly showed us a couple examples of LED colored wash lights that they have developed. In case you hadn’t noticed, this new lighting has taken the airline industry by storm. Shown here is a good example of colored wash lighting and Bruce tells us that LED’s have a power savings advantage of at least 20% with a payback of 2 to 3 years – reliability and power saving make LED’s a real winner. You can reach Bruce Aerospace at +1 775 246 0101 and ask for Steve Jaffe, General Manager.>

From the new product files, we really liked the SKYPower Combined from the KID Systeme folks. When airlines want to give it all to their upper class passengers, this is how you power them. The combined system delivers 110 AC and 5 volt USB power from one MCU. If your passengers need 110 AC power for their GSM phones and 5 volts DC USB for their iPads, they will not suffer “connectivity withdrawal”! For more info contact Peter Schetschine.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Coming to an airport near you soon – “Femtocells”. IFExpress talked to a retired IFE Genius recently about the use of Femtocells, and while they don’t have an airplane application, he told us: “As you may read HERE people are looking for “what if” the cell phone capacity of the world starts to ‘fill-up’? I already have a related issue in that where I live, I cannot get a reliable signal. I purchased a “Femtocell” device from ATT so that when I am at home, I can use my cellphone very reliably and not have dropped calls, etc. This device interfaces my cellphone to the Internet over my ISP, Comcast and somewhere along the line ATT picks up on it and puts the call back on its cellular network. HERE is another link to this subject.”

In last week’s edition of IFExpress we trumped up the Passenger Experience Conference, Day 1 event in Hamburg. We noted how good it was and since the folks at Reed Exhibitions have already sent out a questionnaire to improve next year’s event, IFExpress believes it will only get better. There was a lot of change in the air at AIX, and as you can imagine it was all about wireless connectivity – in cabin Wi-Fi, satcom connections, and linking various parts of the plane/crew with 802.11. This year we thought we would follow the trends for our readers and provide a bit of a technology lookout. Remember: technology leads, products follow.

“The iPad has/is changing all things EFB. The iPad has made it possible for airlines to make a cost justification to move forward with their EFB programs. Our eCabin software replaces the ream of paper that Pursers have to carry around during flight, again, all on the iPad!” – David Abbott, Ultramain Systems

And speaking of iPads, we found them at every booth, most being used in place of IFE or as crew communication platforms. One booth even had 100 iPad demonstrators! Recent tech announcements we have seen have predicted the drop in laptop sales (or at least a slow down) and this portends the mobile future we all have in front of us. And yes, the phone universe is in there too but for the plane, vendors showed us iPads. Interestingly, few (almost none) were Android tablets but that will probably change as their price drops faster than iOS devices, but it looks like the Apple fire-walled OS has a few advantages in the airplane.

A couple of the best crew applications we saw were on an iPad by Allegiant Systems. Two products you should look up FlyDesk EFB and FlyDesk Cabin. Their stunning graphics made this device a stand out. Industry long-timer, Ramsey Nuwar, Business Development, told us that these solutions were going to change the cabin and flight deck. Here are a couple images of the FlyDesk product and an in-cabin use.

“As a managed tablet platform provider, we see a profound opportunity to utilize connectivity when available on the aircraft.  Operational applications certainly push the case towards fleet-wide installation, but won’t meet the business case needs alone.  However, with low-bandwidth demands, operational requirements are more suited to a mélange of connections, meaning airlines could customize connectivity to each aircraft type if so desired.” Ramsey Newar – Allegiant Systems

The Aircraft Interiors Expo was a great success for the Swiss media company, Ocleen. Their booth attracted a lot of visitors during the show because of their claim of free IFE systems via advertising supported hardware. Airlines can install a server-based network on their aircraft or get a cloud-based system with no fixed infrastructure. Looking at short haul applications, the company provides free tablet computers that are distributed by the crew. Expecting an order soon, Ocleen features Android devices which are price competitive with iOS units.

“The airlines primarily have a demand for the solution on short and mid-haul flights. They rarely have an Inflight-Entertainment-System installed on these routes as the costs have been prohibitive to date. We are providing a new direction, requiring no payment for and carrying the entire investment for the client. As a result, several airlines are obviously very interested in our solution. We had 40 to 50 meetings a day at the show,”  – Klaus Knappe, Ocleen

On the IFEC server side, TriaGnoSys has released AeroConneX+. The small unit is targeted, at least initially, for the business jet market. Working with VT Miltope, the unit offers a complete IFEC package – data, Internet, voice, and aero BTS. From an entertainment point of view, the new small box uses VOD streaming and can serve, with the appropriate number of WAPS, an amazing 300 passengers! Axel has a customer and the first install will be later this year he told IFExpress. The software resides on the “One-Box-Wonder” server but, boy can it do so much more! Using GSM technology, very high quality en route weather data is available as are Pireps. The word from the TriaGnoSys team is – “Pilots love it!”

Heard and Seen at AIX:

Gene Connelly was recently named Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Support for Panasonic Avionics Corporation – send him a congratulations! And by the way, check out the new Panasonic Avionics website.

We met a very nice young man from the New York area – Tyler Erdman whose new company- Tablet IFE LLC – is a business jet tablet start-up. You can reach him at Send him some business!

Bet you have never seen 100 iPads operating from one server… Plan B Media showed us that it can be done!

And lastly, if you have never gone to the catering side of the AIX show, you are missing some great companies who offering their wares to airlines. Little did we-who-travel-coach know that the world of airline food and drink possibilities can be so incredible. Next year, take an hour to see what you have been missing in Business Class!

– New connectivity service will enable airlines to offer broadband speeds, data rates and bandwidth that passengers are used to receiving on the ground

Hamburg, Germany | April 9, 2013– Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of mobile satellite communications services, will host the world’s first preview of the avionics designed to support the company’s game-changing GX Aviation service for the aviation sector at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg (April 9-11).

GX Aviation is the first high-speed global broadband service, delivered via Ka-band, and will be supported by a new suite of avionics designed and manufactured by Honeywell. On display for the first time, visitors to Hamburg will see the GX system components. Commercial availability of the avionics for GX Aviation is planned for early 2015. All GX Aviation avionics will be fully compliant with the A791 industry standard and intended for forward-fit and retro-fit installation from launch.

Miranda Mills, Inmarsat’s Vice President of Aerospace, explains: “GX Aviation is going to change the face of in-flight connectivity and the Aircraft Interiors Expo provides us with the perfect opportunity to reveal the avionics for the very first time. With our fleet of three satellites under construction by Boeing, and the first scheduled for launch this year, avionics represent the final segment which turns GX from a concept into a reality, which visitors to the stand can touch and feel.”

The GX Aviation service has been designed to offer consistent, high capacity broadband coverage with throughputs of up to 50Mbps around the world. This will enable airlines to offer their passengers access to the level of broadband speeds, data rates and bandwidth they are used to receiving on the ground, allowing them to stream live Internet content and take part in video calls, even when they are flying across an ocean at 30,000 feet.

Miranda continues: “The world is changing and airlines are seeking to keep up with passengers’ expectations. Our new GX service, which can be combined with our existing L-band solution, enables airlines to capitalise on already installed hardware to provide high speed broadband service with complete geographical coverage for all aircraft requirements, both in the cockpit and the cabin.”

Jack Jacobs, Vice President of Marketing Product and Management, Honeywell Aerospace said: “The consumer demand for fast, global in-flight connectivity continues to grow at a monumental rate. People want to be connected no matter where they are and have the same Internet experience that they have at home. Through GX Aviation Ka-band satellite connectivity, airlines will have more bandwidth, at a cost-effective price that provides consumers with an unprecedented global connectivity experience.

The Aircraft Interiors Expo is over for another year and we thought a report on what we observed and overheard might be useful for readers who did not get the chance to attend, as well as, serve as an update for those who manned their company booth. To that end, we plan to cover the events in at least three issues of IFExpress. Also, we thought you might like to hear from your favorite IFE personalities so we will intersperse their thoughts about the show in the next few editions of IFExpress as well. Lets start at the beginning, The Passenger Experience Conference (PEC), the day before AIX began.

Located off the show campus in a nearby convention center, PEC is a new feature of the AIX roster. In the past, the pre show activity was co-hosted with APEX and now that Reed and the Aircraft Interiors EXPO folks have gone their own way, the mini conference really rocks! Primarily sponsored by Teague, Gogo, BAE Systems, and DHL, the one day session is one NOT to miss in the future. Why? PEC featured some 36 top notch speakers and panelists and 2 plenary sessions plus we counted 19 meetings and optional cabin related choices of update seminars from catering to IFE. Next year, plan to attend this event as the organizers did a great job of selecting topics and speakers… not to mention the after work get-together. Two additional items: borrow, beg, or steal the Frost & Sullivan “Global In-Flight Entertainment market Assessment”, and keep checking the Aircraft Interiors website for the presentations. We asked Michael Planey, Meeting Moderator and he told IFExpress: “Reed said last week that the presentations would get posted online soon and that they would email a link to them. No word yet as to when they will be made available.”

“This year’s Hamburg Expo was tremendous.  There is exciting growth of Connectivity Delivery Systems with the expansion of Ku-Band platforms and the emergence of the Ka-Band platform.  These types of Satcom mobility technologies means many more opportunities for delivering content to the passenger.  The future is very bright.”- John Courtright

Aircraft Interiors EXPO

Over the next three days at the Messe in Hamburg the exhibition halls were abuzz with every aspect of the passenger experience – catering, seats, lighting, galleys and IFEC. This was a banner year for IFE and Connectivity and fully 25% of the show floor was dedicated to vendors who serve those markets. You can imagine the challenge of covering the exhibitors and we will do our best in the next few issues of IFExpress to impart the information we gathered, but if we missed you, let us know and we will try to get your story out next year. We asked a few attendees what they noticed about the show and got some interesting answers: “Boy, connectivity was all over the place!” –  “The two ‘big deals’ I remember were the OnAir/Saudia announcement  and the Thales/Gogo tie-up.” –  “I think it is interesting that we are now seeing new products and new companies in the IFEC space.”

From a trend point of view, there were enough to go around. If you were to guess, you would probably say that Connectivity and Wi-Fi were big at AIX, and you would be correct. From our perspective, those topics were even expanded from previous years. For example, aircraft Wi-Fi was associated with cockpit and aircraft monitoring efforts by some. Further, Wi-Fi projects were the topic at roughly 9 out of the 11 IFE vendors we visited… some were wireless only! Additionally, the “battle for eyeballs” is becoming evident as some vendors touted the value of double screening that is so pervasive in all our lives. We note; however, that pay-per-click is still not as big as it probably will be someday and only a couple of vendors extolled those virtues.

“The future of inflight connectivity is the Connected Aircraft 3.0. Communication is social, driven by new generation applications; it is relevant to users because it is location based and therefore provides local content; it is accessed through mobile devices – and, of course, by people who are traveling. It also goes beyond passengers to the cabin crew and the cockpit, providing connectivity for aircraft and airline operations.”  – Francois Rodriguez of OnAir

There is a belief by some that inflight Wi-Fi will replace embedded IFE but that thought is difficult to defend considering that today fully embedded systems represent 75% of in-flight entertainment hardware expenditures. While connectivity is growing at a rate some 2X that of IFE, it will take some time to dispel the belief that seatback video is the connection to the passenger. In a discussion with Paul Margis of Panasonic, he told IFExpress, “Seatback screens are the ‘last mile’ for the airlines and they ‘own’ the space, unlike personal devices where Google or whomever control the experience.” Airlines are beginning to realize that they are competing with PEDs and that there is money to be made directly via real sales and indirectly by click-thru’s. Yes, times are changing and AIX is a perfect stage for the preview.

It is pretty obvious that airlines are in a hurry to increase both load factors and passenger count to help raise revenues and there were quite a few seat solutions to aid that desire. Basically, airlines see thinner seats as a way to reduce seat pitch without passengers noticing the reduction in legroom and we found a  great article on the subject. The game here is to keep the belief that nothing has changed and from airlines testing the thinner seat concept, it seems to be working. We wonder if a newer IFE paradigm is needed to keep abreast?

“It seems that the simpler it needs to be for passengers to be connected, entertained, fed and watered, the more complex it has to be technically.  What a great challenge to keep us motivated.” – Claire Underwood of IFPL

Lastly, while there were trends aplenty, another was the relatively new in-between embedded or semi-embedded inseat IFE – the hybrid solution for in-flight entertainment. You may remember that the IMS (now Zodiac) seat solution includes an ‘almost’ portable seatback module and now the folks at digEcor introduced their own device, called GLIDE, that began as a portable too. These solutions are lightweight, sport individual content and processors, and are generally less expensive than embedded systems. In fact, there may be a case for no processors at the seat in the future. Check out where we think embedded IFE may go,at least, Jeff Bezos thinks so!

Next time, we will look at some of the vendor products form outline – Stay Tuned!

Aircraft Cabin Systems
Booth: 6B18
Contact: Ben Ludlow
Telephone: + 1 425 629 4129

ACS will be debuting our new overhead retractable monitors in 9.7” and 12” sizes. The new ACS retractable monitors are a direct replacement for the existing retractable systems for A320 aircraft. Considering the frequency of removals and high cost of repairs to the old systems, making the switch is easy. ACS’ patented design allows us to offer a 50,000 operational cycle guarantee and a 5 year warranty.

Booth: 6C40
Contact: Dennis Markert
Telephone: +1 425 442 8195

Come see the latest innovations from Astronics in power conversion, intelligent power management, and distribution to passenger devices and IFE. Also included are the other Astronics divisions including aircraft lighting products, safety devices, aircraft interface devices, and test equipment.

Bose Corporation
Booth: 6A31
Contact: Hratch Astarjian
Telephone: +1 508 766 4075

Products at show: Bose will demonstrate the QuietComfort® 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphone and the A20® Aviation headset at its stand. The QuietComfort 15 is the best performing noise reduction headphone ever from Bose. The A20 Aviation headset is an active noise reduction, communication headset for the cockpit and offers an unmatched combination of noise reduction, clear communication and comfort.

Booth: 6D39
Contact: Ben Fuller
Phone: +1 801 691 7225

At the digEcor booth this year we’re excited to be launching our all-new low cost GLIDE IFE embedded system, a tape replacement solution, and our newest portable tablet dubbed the digEtab featuring the Samsung Tab 2 10.1. We’ll continue to tout our content services as well as introduce the industry to our new media management system. Being known as the traditonal portable IFE provider, we’re effectively evolving into a one-stop shop for all IFE needs and that will be on full display in Hamburg.

Booth: 6A18
Contact: Steve Nolan
Connect with us at

Gogo will be showcasing its latest developments in global satellite technologies as well as focusing on its ground breaking wireless products including: Gogo Vision – Gogo’s wireless IFE solution; and Text and Talk – Gogo’s new text messaging and voice product.

Gogo is a global leader of in-flight connectivity and a pioneer in wireless in-flight digital entertainment solutions. Using Gogo’s exclusive products and services, passengers with Wi-Fi enabled devices can get online on more than 1,800 Gogo equipped commercial aircraft. In-flight connectivity partners include American Airlines, Air Canada, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America. In-flight entertainment partners include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Scoot and US Airways.

Booth: 6C10
Contact: Neil Thomas, Business Development Manager
Mobile: +[44] (0778) 698 7454

We have brought airlines the hardware to enable the payment system of the future. Our Near Field Communication in-flight payment technology eases payment and therefore increases airline’s ancillary revenue generation. In addition, it can provide destination e-vouchers to the passenger so not only Improves the passenger experience, but also the operator’s revenue.

We also have other innovative products that the pioneering team at IFPL have developed; our brilliant Breakaway jack has no moving parts, offering minimized headphone operating cost for these cost-critical times; and our maintenance saving / time saving Self-Testing jack – we don’t need to tell you that if you are saving time you are also saving money!

KID-Systeme GmbH
Booth: 6B30, Hall B6
Contact Maren Münte
Telephone: +49 40 743 71245

KID-Systeme GmbH, a hundred percent Airbus subsidiary, is well established in the industry since 1999. Focused on cabin electronic systems, KID started their business with their innovative In Seat Power Supply System. With a permanent development of its product portfolio KID is able to offer complete cabin system solutions in the field of Connectivity, such as mobile telephony and Internet access on board with the passengers own devices and In Seat Power. KID-Systeme GmbH is still on the cutting edge of the industry and is able to install their products in every type of passenger aircraft.

Lufthansa Systems
Booth: 7A7
Telephone: +49 69 696 90776

Lufthansa Systems adds new functionalities to its wireless IFE system BoardConnect. For the first time the new features were presented at the AIX 2013. In addition to accessing on-demand audio and video as well as information about their destination, passengers can now read electronic magazines by using the eReader functionality of BoardConnect. System maintenance will be further improved through the use of a so-called maintenance front-end.

Unlike conventional in-flight entertainment systems, BoardConnect does not require any complicated wiring for each seat. Instead, it works with a regular WLAN based on the established WiFi standard, meaning that just a few access points need to be installed in the cabin. This makes it possible for the first time to offer passengers an extensive range of information and entertainment on short- and medium-haul aircraft such as the Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 737. Since BoardConnect is lighter than conventional IFE systems, airlines can also achieve considerable fuel savings with it.

Lumexis Corporation
Booth: 6E40
Contact: Doug Cline, CEO
Mobile: + 1 714 813 8550

Lumexis will be demonstrating the leading-edge FTTS® system with its next-generation seat displays, and will be introducing its highly advanced FTTS Second Screen™.

Booth: 6D38
Contact: Charlie Pryor
Telephone: +44 7958 975 667

As well as issuing a number of stories about new customers and extensions of existing customer agreements, OnAir will be talking about the Connected Aircraft 3.0. This is the next stage in the development of the connectivity market, building from passenger communications to incorporate cabin crew and cockpit applications which will help streamline airline operations.

Panasonic Avionics
Booth: 6C20
Contact: Rebecca Atchison
Mobile: +1 949 421 8529

At this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo, Panasonic Avionics will showcase ways to amplify your brand, foster passenger loyalty, and generate more revenue. Check out our latest designs that deliver smaller, lighter systems, and witness firsthand how we are building business platform solutions that deliver more opportunities for you and your passengers.

Booth: 6A30
Contact: Lori Krans
Tele: +1 949 923 0976

Key Booth highlights: Thales will feature several new seat configurations with production TopSeries AVANT® equipment. Key announcements focus on three new partnerships tied to connectivity and advanced system applications. Innovations cover an end-to-end, home to hotel, connected passenger experience, and a first time ever shown, immersive seat that embraces more futuristic capabilities designed around passenger comfort. Come visit!

Thompson Aerospace, Inc.
Booth: 5E51
Contact: Mark Thompson, President/CEO
Mobile: +1 949 690 8668

Thompson Aerospace will be showcasing their 1Net product. 1Net provides an Intelligent Aircraft for a Connected World, Accelerating Business Innovation for Airlines. The key aspect is Cabin Marketplace Enabler, to allow Airlines to monetize the passenger experience. 1Net provides the same levels of passenger satisfaction and revenues as the Internet.

Booth: 6D40
Contact: Charlie Pryor
Telephone: +44 7958 975 667

TriaGnoSys will be launching AeroConneX+. It is the latest in the company’s series of connectivity hardware solutions. It builds on the highly successful GSMConneX solution, that provides both GSM and Wi-Fi in a single box, enabling service providers to extend the connectivity solutions they provide passengers, as well as to cockpit and cabin crew. It also has the potential to incorporate machine-to-machine communications to make the maintenance process more efficient.

VT Miltope
Booth: 6B49
Contact: Markus Gilges
Telephone: +44 7793 758755

On Display: In addition to printers, servers, and Ethernet switches, VT Miltope will be exhibiting the latest in wireless products featuring developments of a cellular + Wi-Fi™ ground link (product: cTWLU) and an IEEE 802.11ac wireless access point (product: nMAP2).

Zodiac In-Flight Entertainment (formerly The IMS Company)
Booth: 6B20 (Hall B6
Contact: Harry Gray, Vice President Sales and Marketing
Mobile: +1 714 683 3793

Zodiac In-flight Entertainment (formerly The IMS Company) has provided innovative solutions for the aviation industry for over 17 years.

RAVE (winner of the 2011 Crystal Cabin Award) is on display and provides the latest innovation for Audio/Video On Demand (AVOD). Our (patented) seat-centric system architecture provides for a simple installation and operation, and the highest reliability of any in-seat design.

The system is fully certified and flying today on over 30 aircraft providing state-of-the art features, as well as a system that is about one-half the weight, power and price of the traditional IFE systems available today.

Hamburg, Germany | March 27, 2013– First time exhibitor Molon Labe Designs will use Aircraft Interiors Expo – organised by Reed Exhibitions – to present its innovative and unique seating design concept at the Hamburg Messe, Germany from 9 -11 April.

The Slip-Slide seat permits the normal 19” wide aisle to open up to an impressive 43”, offering a number of benefits to both the airline and passengers. The company states that it is the only seat in the industry that provides wider aisles during turnaround, minimising passenger embarkation and disembarkation times and enabling full wheelchair access the length of the cabin.

This new concept in seating design utilises the aisle column of seats as a semi-fixed structure attached to its respective row, but not directly to the floor. The aisle seat moves up and over the middle seat using a single action operation, sliding away from the plane’s central concourse, generating an extra 24” of space to permit passenger access and egress. Before take-off the seat slides back into position and locks in place.

Molon Labe asserts that for an airline there are numerous advantages, especially since the slowest part of an aircrafts turnaround is the loading and unloading of passengers. These include two extra hours of flight time per aircraft and savings on fuel as there is less time on the ground powering essential services while passenger’s access and egress. The company states that the seat pays for itself in two years through the fuel saving element alone.

A stalwart of Aircraft Interiors Expo, Thales will use the exhibition to present its Eyetracking and Gesture Control system. The IFE system is controlled via a combination of the passenger’s eye movements and hand motions, allowing them to navigate through the seat display menu options and select their entertainment preferences. Developed for premium passengers, the system is used in a far reach seat configuration often called a pod seat. The use of Eyetracking and Hand Gesture Control technologies creates an MMI (Man-Machine Interface) whereby the Field-of-View between the passenger’s eyes and hands is all within the same visual plane of the seat display, eliminating the need to constantly look down at a remote control to make a selection. This product is a finalist in the “Passenger Comfort Systems” category at the annual Crystal Cabin Awards 2013.

Inflight internet specialist Gogo will soon be offering a new product that will allow passengers to send text messages from any Gogo equipped commercial aircraft. Called Gogo Text & Voice, it uses Gogo’s Wi-Fi system and will be available without picocells. Gogo expects Text & Voice to be the first solution in the market to leverage an in-air
Wi-Fi system to allow airline passengers to send and receive texts in real-time using their own mobile phone number while flying at 30,000 ft and in excess of 500 miles per hour.

Row 44 will be exhibiting the industry’s first full-scale platform for in-flight entertainment and connectivity. The company’s Ku-band satellite technology is unique in its ability to deliver live television direct to passengers’ personal mobile devices throughout an entire fleet of aircraft at a consistent quality and cost-effective rate. This service can be made available to passengers as a separate Wi-Fi offering, regardless of whether or not a passenger chooses to pay for internet access. It offers 1.8 terabyte of video-on-demand service which enables unprecedented choice for the customer. The service allows airline partners of Row 44 to impress their customers with a new entertainment product offering opportunities to garner incremental revenues. Row 44 also permits airlines to retain control of the branding of the services and portal in order to maintain brand continuity. Row 44 is a finalist in the Passenger Comfort Systems category of the Crystal Cabin Awards.

For more information on Aircraft Interiors Expo please visit:

For more information on the Crystal Cabin Awards please visit:

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

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

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

Some Key Sessions to Consider

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, we have a link to the free show apps

– The shortlist for the Crystal Cabin Award 2013 is in place – with plenty of products and concepts that make travelling more pleasant for the passenger

Hamburg, Germany | January 28, 2013– Customer friendliness is a characteristic of a remarkable number of the products entered for this year’s Crystal Cabin Award. And “customer” here refers not just to the airline, but also – indeed, first and foremost – to the passenger. The 5 members of the preselection committee have just finished assessing all the entries received by the Crystal Cabin Award Association in Hamburg to see if they fulfil the conditions of entry. They were surprised by a number of interesting details which will benefit future passengers. A total of 47 submissions from eleven countries are now in the race. The international expert jury is now evaluating the accepted submissions, so that the finalists for the seven categories can be nominated shortly before the Aircraft Interiors Expo (9 to 11 April, 2013). The winners will be crowned, as they are every year, as part of the aircraft cabin industry trade fair in Hamburg.

Sound familiar? A meal is being served and you have to quickly find somewhere to put your notebook, your book, your notepad. Products such as Table Dance and Tray Table Cabinet are here to help. These tables have storage room in the form of hatches and compartments. And at last we will be able to charge our own electronic devices – smartphones, tablets and ebook readers – via USB cable during the flight. In fact, we can even use our own devices for the in-flight entertainment program. And to save our arms from getting weary, there are both armrests and mounting brackets for tablets. A special in-flight entertainment program not only shows the area you are currently flying over, but also provides useful information about the history and culture of this small patch of earth. Larger storage lockers – big enough to stand a small case in – will be good news for anyone who likes to travel with a lot of hand luggage. Various lighting scenarios also ensure a more pleasant journey.

“These are just a few of the ideas that have been submitted for the Crystal Cabin Award and made an impression on the preselection committee,” reports Walter Birkhan, President of the Crystal Cabin Award Association. “Sometimes these solutions that increase in-flight comfort are very obvious, but nobody has ever thought of putting them into practice until now. There are also many technical innovations which make economy class travel substantially more pleasant, ranging from noise reduction to lighting and air conditioning.”

For some entrants, there was already an internal competition within the company before the submission was sent to this major international aircraft cabin competition. This is because the new rules stipulate that each company may only enter one product per category. “This restriction has meant that we were not able to accept so many entries this year, but the comparison within the specific categories is now much fairer,” remarks Carmen Krause, Project Manager for the Crystal Cabin Award.

The Judging Panel, consisting of 24 experts from the international aviation industry, will now examine and evaluate the 47 accepted entries in detail. In March, a few weeks before the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, three finalists each will be nominated for the following seven categories: “Greener Cabin, Health, Safety & Environment”˛ “Industrial Design & Visionary Concepts”, “Materials and Components”˛ “Passenger Comfort Hardware”˛ “Passenger Comfort Systems”˛ “Premium Class & VIP” and the category for students: “University”. The winner of the University category receives not only the coveted trophy but also 3,000 euros in prize money.

The official announcement of the winners and the presentation of the seven trophies takes place at a formal dinner as part of the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg (9 – 11 April 2013).

So far, the following sponsors have committed to the Crystal Cabin Award 2013: Airbus, Aircraft Cabin Management, the Aircraft Interiors Expo trade fair (Reed Exhibitions), Aircraft Interiors International Magazine, APEX, Bishop, DIEHL Aerosystems Holding, FERCHAU AVIATION Division, Jetliner Cabins, SILVER ATENA and SGS Germany.

About the Crystal Cabin Award
The Crystal Cabin Award is the only international prize for innovations in the field of aircraft cabins. A high-calibre jury made up of renowned academics, engineers, specialist journalists and airline and aircraft manufacturer representatives comes together under the slogan “Let your ideas take off” to honour unusual cabin concepts and products. The competition was launched by Hamburg Aviation and is organised by the Crystal Cabin Award Association. The award, to date the only one of its kind, has been presented during the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg every year since 2007. The trophies have become a seal of quality, known and coveted around the world.