The finalists for this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards have now been announced. The entries chosen by the jury range from innovative seats and next-generation connectivity technology to air purifiers, economy class beds and the future of flying. The finalists will be presenting their concepts in person to the jury at the world’s leading trade fair for aircraft cabins, the Aircraft Interiors Expo, which is taking place on 6-8 June 2023 in Hamburg.
The winners of the awards will be announced on the evening of 6 June at a gala dinner at the Hamburg Chambers of Commerce. We take a closer look at each category and the chosen entries below.
Cabin Concepts Category
The cabin concepts category offers innovative new solutions that raise the bar on different areas of passenger or crew experience. This year’s finalists include Air New Zealand’s Skynest which caters for ultra-long haul travel in economy class, offering lie-in bunks.
Diehl Aviation’s integrated Crew Rest Compartment for single-aisle aircraft adds a foldable flat rest space for crew in single-aisle jets, using the crew jump seats as a support.
Lufthansa Group entry, the Allegris system of flexible seating options, allows passengers to choose from 14 seat types across four travel classes to suit personal needs. Premium offerings include double suites and beds with soft mattresses for more comfort.
Cabin Systems, Materials and Components Category
Collins Aerospace entry this year features an acoustic dampening material that reduces noise transmission from engines, the fuselage and conversations in the cabin more effectively than traditional honeycomb designs.
J&C Aero’s Jump Seat Duo is a dual-purpose module that the company says integrates a foldable wheelchair within the crew jump seat, letting crew assist passengers with reduced mobility quickly while saving valuable cabin space.
Thales Avionics presents its Onboard Data-Center (ODC), an IT architecture using a system of “blades” that share storage and computing capabilities. Thales says its ODC brings web-based technologies onboard the aircraft for the first time and increases storage space by up to 10 times compared to existing IFE servers.
Health & Safety Category
This year, the health and safety category focuses on improved air quality. Pothos by Collins Aerospace uses ionisation to purify and de-odour air in the cabin to deliver fresh air to passengers that mimics the air quality of pristine, outdoor conditions.
CTT Systems’ entry, Humidification Onboard Pure Air system, adds an Active Carbon filter to existing humidification tech to clean the cabin environment from fumes and ozone introduced via bleed air.
Teledyne Controls‘ ACES is the first FAA-certified cabin environment monitoring system that continually measures a range of cabin air parameters including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and volatile organic compounds.
Passenger Comfort Category
Adient Aerospace in cooperation with Boeing EnCore Interiors offers a new configuration for long-haul flights that eschews spatial restrictions. The Ascent Front Row Suite removes the overhead bin and orients the seat facing towards the window, adding a desk, minibar and library as well as a flat bed and space to seat a companion.
Airbus A350 Airspace Cabin offers more space, choice and flexibility for a wider cross-section of revenue passenger areas. The A350 Airspace cabin provides room for larger galleys, a new flight-crew rest compartment in the upper crown area and a larger forward lavatory on its A350 aircraft.
InteliSence by Collins Aerospace uses an array of cameras and sensors as well as deep-learning AI to monitor interactions and collect information around the seat environment with the aim of delivering reliable and predictive information about passengers’ ideal travel experience to airlines and crew.
IFEC and Digital Services Category
Airbus entry for this category, Airspace Link HBCplus, is a new high-bandwidth satellite connectivity solution offered both as a line-fit and retro-fit option that lets airlines connect to a choice of Managed Service Providers via a new agnostic terminal and radome.
AirFi, coop. Iridium LEO system uses a pen-sized antenna housed in the window frame to enable IP connection to the Iridium Certus Low Earth Orbit system, letting passengers to connect to WhatsApp and iMessage, aircraft access ACARS transmissions and airlines validate credit card payments.
Skyted with cooperation partners PriestmanGoode, Airbus Development, the European Space Agency Accelerator Program and ONERA presents a solution that integrates a Wi-Fi connection into a facemask engineered to dampen the noise of the wearer’s speech. The designers aim to combat increased cabin noise generated by future 5G connectivity in the aircraft cabin and the proliferation of video calls.
Sustainable Cabin Category
The entries for this category include a solution called BioMat Sidewall Panel by Airbus and its cooperation partners Mitsubishi Chemical Group MCG and CTC GmbH. It is a thermoset resin produced from industrial biomass by-products. When used with recycled carbon fibre, the resin eliminates the need for virgin carbon fibre.
Diehl Aviation’s entry features cabin lining with integrated vacuum insulation, offering a composite structure developed specifically to save valuable cabin energy.
The company behind Deep Dyed Carpet, Lantal Textiles, says its digital carpet manufacturing technology can provide ultra-lightweight, visually customised carpeting within days, independent of design, with substantial water and waste savings during production.
This category highlights the ingenuity of students and their mentors and this year, the judging panel selected three finalist entries submitted by independent teams from the same university: Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands.
Its entries include Alba Seating Concept, which is an ultra-light seating fixture inspired by the biological form of the human spine that uses netting as a seat fabric to lower overall mass. A competing team from TU Delft in cooperation with Embraer submitted Horus, a different approach to low-weight seating designed for use on hydrogen-powered aircraft from 2030 and beyond.
The team behind the third entry in the University category in 2023 have designed a 3D printed cushion that optimally supports the human body to provide better seating comfort in a lightweight and sustainable product.