May 22, 2024

AIX in focus

The first physical Airline Interiors Expo (AIX) in three years attracted 600 exhibitors, more than 12,000 professionals from the cabin interiors industry and representatives from more than 180 airlines.

Dates for 2023 are confirmed as June 6-8, once again coinciding with the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) and Passenger Experience Conference.

News from AIX included…

Panasonic unveils Astrova

Panasonic announced its new inflight entertainment (IFE) seat-end system, Astrova.

Designed with passenger engagement in mind, Astrova reflects the latest on-the-ground technology, making the transition from passengers’ personal devices to inflight entertainment seamless. It features cinema-grade 4K OLED screens with High Dynamic Range (HDR), Panasonic’s award-winning Bluetooth technology, as well as 67W of USB-C power to fast-charge smart devices.

Following its successful launch on the stand, the Panasonic team announced that fellow AIX exhibitor, Recaro Aircraft Seating would integrate the Astrova seat-end solution into its newly revamped CL3810 to optimise the passenger journey for single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft. Attendees visiting the Recaro stand were provided with a first look at the CL3810 economy class seat.

As the successor to the German seat manufacturer’s popular CL3710, the new CL3810 offers weight savings of 1.5kg per seat, combining innovative ergonomic technology, premium comfort cushions with layered foam, and lightweight smart engineering. Compared to its predecessor, the CL3810 offers an additional inch of living space, a more advanced articulated seat pan, and a wider backrest to enhance row-to-row privacy.

Sitting comfortably

Safran Seats, TSI Seats, Aviointeriors and other seating specialists showcased a range of innovative concepts and configurations.

Aviointeriors highlighted its Business Class Allegra lie-flat seat; 7.5kg FABRY economy class seat; and ‘Heric’ (Herringbone in Cruise) and ‘DoDo’ (Double Double Bed) family of products which allow seating to be tailored to each airline’s requirements. These concepts are designed to provide a seating area that can be easily converted to a lie-flat area, expanding configuration options for airlines.  

Safran Seats showcased a duo of business-class products: VUE and UNITY. The first, VUE, is adapted to long-haul flights on narrowbody aircraft, but designed to assimilate the experience of the most comfortable, widebody airplanes. The name, VUE stems from the window-facing experience it delivers for every passenger. Meanwhile, UNITY is a new generation of high-end, forward-facing business class seats that provide every passenger with direct access to the aisle and multiple storage areas. 

TSI Seats also launched its economy class seat Milligram, and award-winning, business class seat Royalux. Described as a next-generation lightweight economy class seat, the Milligram is optimised for narrow-body A320 and B737 aircraft. It is one of the lightest seats in the market at less than 7.5kg per passenger without a dress cover and USB outlet. It consists of a significantly reduced number of parts – less than 70 parts per triple – which are mostly made using ultra-durable, high-performance composite and aluminium parts.

The company also displayed its new Royalux business class seat. Designed for the A320, A350, B737 and B787 aircraft, it can be used in business class in narrow-body, or premium economy in wide-body aircraft types.

TU Delft student, Alejandro Nunez Vicente got visitors thinking with his chaise lounge concept on the Aircraft Interior Refurbishment España (AIRE) stand.

The innovative concept is designed for a bi-level cabin that has rows of traditional seats on the floor, along with rows of elevated seats. Nominated for a Crystal Cabin Award in 2021, Alejandro returned to AIX following successful funding to work full-time on his prototype.;;;

Airbus makes the link

Airbus revealed its Airspace Link HBCplus – a flexible high bandwidth connectivity solution that will be offered as an SFE line-fit catalogue option and also for retrofit on all Airbus programmes.

HBCplus, which initially encompasses Ka-band services, will enable airlines to connect to a choice of Managed Service Providers (MSPs) via a new certified terminal and radome built as part of the aircraft. In the future, it is planned to extend HBCplus to include MSPs which offer Ku-band services.

Airbus also revealed it has selected fellow AIX exhibitor and connectivity satcom leader, Inmarsat as the first MSP, while Safran Passenger Innovations (SPI) will act as terminal provider and hardware integrator of ThinKom’s proven antenna technology.

Collins chills out

Collins Aerospace showcased a new modular, thermoelectric cooling system that is scalable to fit a variety of applications throughout an aircraft’s interior.

SpaceChiller efficiently chills compartments to food-safe temperatures without the use of refrigerants that may impact global warming. It is designed to offer airlines flexibility in service, storage, and space without sacrificing room for passengers and flight attendants. Applications range from premium suites and passenger social zones to single galley inserts and whole cart bays.

Floor focus for STG

STG Aerospace unveiled what it claims to be the world’s narrowest and lightest emergency floor path marking – the brand new saf-Tglo® SSUL-X11.

This narrower option is designed to enhance cabin aesthetics, blending seamlessly into the cabin design, while maintaining passenger safety requirements. The company also announced its new platform-agnostic Universal Lighting capability and emergency exit system package for business jet and small fixed-wing aircraft (CS23).

Kate Williams, brand marketing manager, STG Aerospace, said: “The show has been really good and really busy. We weren’t sure what to expect after three years, but we’ve been fully booked with meetings and the quality of visitors has been great. We’ve had lots of interest in the new products we’ve launched at the show. The feedback has been really positive and it’s great to know that we’re launching the products our customers want and need.”

Inmarsat connects

easyJet has been named as the first airline partner to adopt the Iris programme by Inmarsat and the European Space Agency (ESA), which uses the latest generation of satellite technology to connect pilots, air traffic controllers and airline operation centres.

The system uses secure, high-bandwidth data links and will help minimise delays, save fuel and reduce the environmental impact of aircraft as well as easing congestion.

Powered by Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) connectivity platform, Iris enables the airline to avoid holding patterns, calculate the shortest available routes and optimum altitudes, and pathways, while also supportingonboard digital applications, such as AI flight profile optimisers and real-time weather reports.

The partnership is the culmination of years of work and over €50 million investment by ESA, Inmarsat and more than 30 partners to develop the Iris programme. It also supports easyJet’s commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 as part of the UN-backed ‘Race to Zero’ campaign, with an interim target of a 35% carbon emissions intensity improvement by 2035.

Philippe Carette, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said “The Iris programme is a game-changer and we are delighted to have easyJet as our first airline partner. It kick-starts an exciting new era that will help make aviation greener and reduce congestion delays for passengers.”

Cabin upgrades bring win-win solutions

HAECO Cabin Solutions in cooperation with Diehl Aviation announced three cabin upgrades designed to reduce weight, increase capacity, and improve passenger comfort.

Doug Rasmussen, president Cabin Solutions, says: “These upgrades enhance the onboard experience while at the same time driving better operating efficiencies.”

The first product, the “Aft-Simplex,” is a simplified single-aisle aft-lavatory/galley complex.  For many single-aisle operators it provides improved density by allowing the addition of up to six seats and lowers operating costs and/or provides increased range through reduced weight.  The Aft-Simplex is at least 70 kg (155 lbs.) lighter than comparable solutions from other suppliers. Four standard configurations are available.  When installed in combination with HAECO’s Vector Light seats, overall aircraft weight is reduced by up to 800kg, an unprecedented improvement in operating economics for single-aisle aircraft.   

The second product is a combination of HAECO’s Eclipse seat and a unique floor-to-floor solution designed by Diehl.  The design features allow it to be installed in a five-abreast configuration without compromising passenger comfort or privacy.

The third product is an enlarged 737 overhead bin solution. The design of this bin allows it to be installed without modifying the aircraft structure or PSU interfaces at a weight lower than current products. 

“The cooperation and synergies we have had with HAECO developing these enhanced cabin products has been tremendous,” said Holger Hafner, SVP of upgrade solutions with Diehl Aviation.Anytime you’re able to improve the overall passenger experience while improving aircraft operating economics it is a win-win.”;