“The cabin is increasingly becoming an airline’s calling card!”

Charlotte Ebert
05.04.2019
4 pictures
7 minutes

The international Crystal Cabin Award was presented for the 13th time at the Aircraft Interiors Expo. In eight categories, the independent award honours excellent products and concepts developed for the interior design of aircraft cabins. The event, which is financed by sponsoring, was initiated by Hamburg Aviation: the “Luftfahrtcluster Metropolregion Hamburg e.V.”. The association consists of companies, research and educational institutions as well as the City of Hamburg and aims to promote the development of the aviation industry in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region.

Interview Hamburg Aviation

What exactly is the Crystal Cabin Award about?

It’s about showing and awarding prizes to the top innovations and ideas in aircraft and cabin interiors. We have an independent jury of experts consisting of 28 members spread all over the world. Once a year, everyone comes together to choose the winners. We also want to give the topics of cabin and comfort a stage and make them visible to the public.

Is comfort a growing issue?

The topic is growing massively. Firstly, because more and more aircraft are in the air around the world. On the other hand, because the cabin is increasingly becoming an airline’s calling card. In this area, the company is trying to strengthen customer loyalty and leave its own footprint. This is also reflected here at AIX. The trade fair has also grown strongly, as we can see from the Crystal Cabin Award. For years we have had more and more visitors and applications, this year for the first time there are more than a hundred of them.

What was a particularly unusual application this year?

There are always a lot of creative applications. One idea that is certainly very exciting and that also won is the “Lower Deck Pax Experience” module from Airbus and Safran. This is something fundamentally different from what you know today. I always find it very exciting to think outside the box. With this award, we also want to make this more accessible for the industry: to dare more!

Can you tell from the applications that certain trends are emerging because the ideas are similar?

We can actually see that. This year, well-being was at the top of the list, including Jetlite and the subject of light. Last year there were many submissions on flexibility and connectivity. The award is certainly an indicator of future trends in the cabin.

Which product of the future would you wish for?

I want the industry to surprise me. What’s happening here is so diverse and I think it’s especially important that the industry thinks together with the airlines and the passengers. That will develop bit by bit.

What do you think will happen in the future?

It will be more about well-being, less sterility and more personalization. How can I feel comfortable on board, how can I create a good atmosphere, something like that. But also that the classes will be further broken up. There will be more possibilities to combine the services desired by the customer into an individual flight package in a modular system. If in doubt, I can then book an airport transfer directly and so on. As markets and people change, so too does the aviation industry.

Do you think it’ll get faster in the long run?

Absolutely. It also becomes more direct. You can see that by the fact that I get news, for example when you have changed Gate. That’s going to increase even more, at some point you’ll get another push message on the way to the gate: Would you like to book more legroom?

What do you personally pay attention to when you fly?

Above all, I make sure that the design and product are right. After all, it’s always a combination of a seat and everything around it: what’s the atmosphere like? A lot happens about the type of aircraft, but also about the airline, which brings in its own elements. For me, it’s all about the overall package that awaits me on board. If, for example, I know that the baggage area is relatively small, then I queue up early at the gate so that I can hand in my suitcase.

It is said that in the next few years 240 new start-ups will cavort in the industry and try to break up the monopoly. How do you see it now from your side, how could the market change?

It is very important that you continue to accompany start-ups, because the barriers to entry into the aviation industry are still much higher than in many other industries. Firstly, as far as the monetary aspect is concerned. On the other hand, because of the time cycles that we have in aviation and the certification issues that exist here. We are currently seeing a development here and it is enormously essential to continue and expand this. Without assistance, such as the Airbus BizLab, it will be very difficult for start-ups to develop.

Thank you very much for the interview.

Photographer s.h.schroeder / © WingMag

by Charlotte Ebert

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