Shortlist for Crystal Cabin Awards 2024 announced

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(PHOTO: Hawaiian Airlines)

AlsimThe Crystal Cabin Awards, organised annually by Hamburg Aviation, have announced 72 entries on the 2024 shortlist. The list of nominees reflects a wide range of innovations, from revolutionary seating concepts to sustainable cabin materials and advanced, inclusive entertainment systems. The prestigious trophy will be awarded on 28 May 2024 in Hamburg as part of the Aircraft Interiors Expo.

Comfortable travelling reaches Economy Class

Sitting or lying down on a long flight, working together as a team or playing games and watching films with the family – this should also be possible in economy class: Amecopresents the Fly-Buddy Hub, a versatile, social seating concept in which six passengers can sit opposite each other. The modular design creates a versatile space with convertible seats and beds, folding tables, a roll-up screen and intelligent partitions.

Qantas Airways also wants to provide relaxation when flying. With its “Sunrise” project, the airline will be offering non-stop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York by the end of 2025. To make such ultra-long-haul flights more pleasant, Diehl Aviation has designed an innovative Wellbeing Zone for the A350. The Wellbeing Zone is accessible to travellers of all classes and offers space for a guided training programme on screens, a drinking station and a range of healthy snacks to help them cope with the long journey time of up to 20 hours.

Privacy and the option to sleep lying down. The Zephyr seat of the company Zephyr Aerospace is set to deliver this comfort, which many passengers are longing for, in Premium Economy Class. It is the world’s first flat aircraft seat for long-haul flights in this class with direct access to the aisle and complete privacy for every traveller. The disruptive, stacked design of the seat means that any Zephyr seat can be installed without loss of seat density.

The cabin interior of the new A350-1000, a collaboration between Japan Airlines, British design agency Tangerine, Safran Seats and Recaro Aircraft Seating, is a prime example of Japanese innovation for all four classes: First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy. Completely redesigned seats with the elegance of Japanese aesthetics can be found in all classes. In Business and First Class, travellers can enjoy the first headphone-free in-flight entertainment system with loudspeakers in the seat. In First Class, there is a dining area for three people and a seat that can be converted into an extra-wide bed. In Premium Economy, passengers will find automatic electric seat adjustment and a fixed partition between the seats in the middle of the cabin to maximise privacy.

Thinking beyond the horizon: Accessibility for as many passengers as possible

When it comes to concepts for accessible travel, the main focus of this year’s submissions is on assistive auditory, visual, cognitive and motor functions that can make air travel accessible and enjoyable for as many passengers as possible. For example, the Wheelchair Space and Securement System (WSSS) from the renowned University of Virginia Tech in co-operation with Boeing, All Wheels Up and Collins Aerospacebenefits passengers with limited mobility by integrating the space required to secure wheelchairs into adaptable economy seats.

Collins Aerospace’s ADAPT digital flight experience control follows the philosophy of inclusive design by allowing passengers to connect their mobile phone to their seat. The passenger’s device communicates with all active visual sensors such as seat controls, in-flight entertainment controls and the crew. It even enables voice recognition or American Sign Language (ASL) recognition.

The ACCESS Beam from Airbus is the first solution for a temporary conversion of the aircraft cabin during ground turnaround for the transport of wheelchairs. It offers airlines maximum flexibility and passengers in wheelchairs the safety and comfort of flying in their own wheelchair.

Safran Passenger Innovations (SPI), in co-operation with Air New Zealand and Virgin Atlantic, has designed an in-flight entertainment product that enables passengers with auditory, visual, cognitive and motor impairments to enjoy in-flight entertainment.

M-SAAVE is an interdisciplinary student project team at the University of Michigandedicated to humanitarian applications of aerospace engineering. Under the leadership of Collins Aerospace, it has developed a safety system for passengers with reduced mobility. This allows passengers to remain seated in their own wheelchair for the duration of a commercial flight.

An industry on a mission: Sustainability driving innovation in aircraft cabins

Engineering eco-friendly aircraft cabins is an enormous challenge. While engineers are required to meet extremely stringent safety protocols, the industry is on a mission to find new ways to cut emissions, use more recycled materials and reduce the levels of manufacturing pollutants.

Saving weight in the cabin directly translates into reduced emissions by lowering fuel consumption. Several entrants in the 2024 season offer significant weight (and therefore emissions) savings, among others companies like Zotefoams, Collins Aerospace, Diehl Aviation, Safran Cabin and a consortium headed by Hamburg-based Comprisetec. These companies use a diverse range of approaches to lower weight including ultra-lightweight foam insulators; ground-breaking manufacturing techniques that use far less material; new resin-based interior panels; ceiling seat anchor points for seating that replace overhead bins; and water dispensers that save weight by replacing bottled water onboard.

But reusing and recycling materials also offers significant ways of reducing aviation’s overall environmental impact. Airbus’ C-Suite Circular Business Class, for example, is built around a commitment to use far more recycled materials in its business class seats than previous offerings. Leading seat manufacturer Recaro makes a similar pledge with its R Sphere concept that prioritizes used and upcycled materials. Gen Phoenix in cooperation Sabeti Wain Aerospace & Doy Design has entered a seat dress made using a special 100% recycled fabric that is also much easier to recycle than similar materials. Meanwhile Aircraft Cabin Modification has managed an impressive feat: Its TexEco material is the first 100% natural fibre certified for aircraft cabins.

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