Crystal Cabin Award 2023 Shortlist

The Crystal Cabin Awards team has announced that more than 80 entries have qualified for this year’s shortlist. The awards, featuring eight categories, will be held on 6 June in Hamburg during the Aircraft Interiors Expo, with an international jury of experts crowning the winners.

The eight categories include “Cabin Concepts”, “Cabin Systems”, “Health & Safety”, “IFEC & Digital Services”, “Material and Components”, “Passenger Comfort”, “Sustainable Cabin” and “University”. For each category, 28 experts will select three finalists which will be announced in May 2023.

Below, we take a look at just some of the innovative entries competing for the awards.

Long-haul comfort

This year’s entries include Skynest by Air New Zealand which presents a flat bed option for long-haul Economy travellers. Installed in sleep islands in the middle section of the aircraft, Skynest bunk beds can be booked for specific time slots.

The Paradym concept by Lift Aero Design in Premium Economy features fold-up armrests, enabling several seats being used as a bed.

American Airlines, together with Teague, presents various layouts for wide- and narrow-body aircraft that provide a solution for the problem of the front seat row in premium economy facing a partition instead of a backrest, which forces designers to build tables and screens into these passengers’ seats, pushing up maintenance requirements. American Airlines’ concept incorporates tables and screens into the wall in front of the front Premium Economy row.

The Lufthansa Group presents its new Allegris cabin product from autumn 2023 across all four classes: First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy. While the latter will primarily benefit from more legroom and Premium Economy will enjoy more privacy, Business and First Class offering will see massive upgrades. These include features such as suites with double beds, or heated seats.

Sustainable solutions

According to the Crystal Cabin Awards team, its jury considers it important to award prizes for entries that are not merely labelled as part of a “green” trend, but also to honour innovations that can make a real difference in the aircraft cabin. This often begins with reduced materials use, recyclable components and waste reduction and one example is the Food Waste App from Lufthansa Industry Solutions that uses AI to measure what passengers leave on their trays and makes suggestions for the next catering plan based on this information.

Airbus Operations’ BioMat side panel mixes recycled carbon fibres from its A350 production with synthetic resins garnered from by-products of sugar cane processing. Another awards entry by Austrian company F/List features two bio-based materials which are introduced to the aircraft cabin for the first time: Linfinium, a linoleum covering made from natural components, and the plant-based “Whisper Leather”.

Cabin innovation for air taxis

When it comes to electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft (eVTOLs), EVE Mobility and Almadesign have submitted an entry with a sleek, airy four-seater cabin concept for Eve Air Mobility, a daughter brand of aircraft manufacturer Embraer. Elements such as ceiling projection and pleasant colour moods are crafted to make the short flight experience as comfortable as possible.

HT-01, a cabin concept for air taxis by Hyundai Transys and its cooperation partner PriestmanGoode, also uses attractive colours and an optimised use of limited space. Building on the idea that the urban air shuttles of the future will be shared with other passengers, the South Korean company has included a variety of ideas to ensure sufficient privacy for all four seats.

Lilium has approached its cabin concept with a strong focus on exclusivity: the company’s Pioneer Edition Lilium Jet features a light-flooded interior design with many customisable options, including a sky bar.

Regarding entries that are thinking outside the box, AIR PREMIA and ZOSLEE STUDIO, for example, propose a more efficient stacking method for economy tableware and give it a new, oval shape.

Privacy during important meetings above the clouds is the premise of Skyted’s noise-cancelling mask; the Covid-19 pandemic has made mask-wearing so widely accepted on aircraft that fellow passengers won’t bat an eyelid. The innovative face covering was developed together with PriestmanGoode, Airbus Development, the European Space Agency Accelerator Program and ONERA.

An entry submitted by Formation Design Group features an autonomous boarding platform Dovetail, which rolls passengers directly to the aircraft and could significantly reduce turnaround times for boarding and de-boarding.

Hamburg-based company AerQ, in cooperation with Boeing EnCore Interiors, presents partitions in the aircraft that literally become transparent thanks to the transparent “The Smart View” displays.

Championing accessibility

Several entrants made the Crystal Cabin Award shortlist this year with concepts for barrier-free travel. Also noticeable here is a strong crop of ideas for Urban Air Mobility. This is exemplified by a concept from Supernal (in cooperation with Formation Design Group) that includes ideas for barrier-free use of air taxis, from gate to exit.

In addition, two American universities, the University of Michigan and the renowned Virginia Tech, have entered concepts for the safe travel of wheelchair users.

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