Future Travel Experience was proud to be a Media Partner for the 14th Crystal Cabin Awards, which were presented virtually on 30 March.
Airbus, Diehl Aviation, e2ip, Eviation with Almadesign, and the University of Cincinnati were all winners of the coveted prize for cabin innovations and onboard products, with Safran taking out three prizes at once.
For the first time, the presentation of the awards was streamed live around the world, due to current COVID-19 travel restrictions. High-ranking industry representatives honoured the 24 finalists and their concepts in their addresses as they presented the prizes. In a digital keynote panel, Karen Brock Amoah, Vice President of Strategic Planning and Business Development at SIMONA; Andrew Litavis, Director Aircraft Interiors and Onboard Technology, jetBlue; and Mark Hiller, CEO, RECARO looked at aircraft cabin trends during and after the first year of the pandemic.
Cabin Concept category
Looking into the cabin of the future, the Cabin Concept category saw Israeli company Eviation Aircraft stand out from the crowd with its electric commuter jet Alice. The jet can carry nine passengers over a distance of up to 1,000 kilometres.
Visionary Concepts category
Another outlook for the future was provided by Airbus – the winner in the Visionary Concepts category. Airbus presented its Airspace Cabin Vision 2030, an extension of the Airspace concept, digitally tailoring the cabin to passenger needs and expanding the onboard experience with flexible seating and lounge configurations, for example a gaming or family compartment. Airbus will also be presenting its Airspace vision at the upcoming FTE APEX Virtual Expo on 25-26 May.
Material and Components category
The Material and Components category was awarded to Canadian company e2ip technologies. Together with the National Research Council of Canada, e2ip presented a panel based on In-Mold Electronics (IME), surface-printed electrical circuitry that saves on complex, heavy cabin electronics. The IME control element can be seamlessly integrated in its environment, taking on a range of functions such as the positioning of the aircraft seat. Furthermore, the system is retrofittable, making it suitable for a wide range of existing aircraft.
Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment category
Focusing on sustainability, the Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment category award went to Diehl Aviation. The company’s Greywater Reuse Unit makes it possible to re-use water from the handbasin to flush the lavatory, rather than tipping drinking water down the drain. As a result, the aircraft has to carry less water reserves, making it significantly lighter. For a Boeing 787, this means savings of up to 550 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Passenger Comfort Hardware
Safran Seat’s Modulair S economy seat concept was victorious in the Passenger Comfort Hardware category. Developed in cooperation with the French university ENSCI, the seat can be extended with various comfort features, such as neck support or a tablet holder to economy class passengers.
Cabin systems category
Just as passengers are becoming more and more digitally connected, so are cabin elements. French company Safran Cabin took home its second prize for the evening in the Cabin Systems category with SOPHY™. The small-size module is integrated in the catering trolley and provides the operator with information on the entire journey of the equipment, from maintenance and cleaning needs to load.
Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity category
The fact that passengers are increasingly using wireless headphones to enjoy on-board entertainment is a challenge for many airlines, as conventional Bluetooth connections tend to fail when the demand in the cabin reaches a certain level. RAVE Bluetooth, designed by Safran’s Passenger Solutions division, addresses these challenges by promising uninterrupted transmission throughout the aircraft, making it a winner in the Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity category.
In the University category, the University of Cincinnati took the trophy for its Coffee House Cabin – a long table for meetings, productive work and coffee breaks. Winner Alejandro Lozano Robledo developed the concept together with The Boeing Company and The Live Well Collaborative.
In 2021, in view of the global COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on global air travel, there will be two special categories for Clean & Safe Air Travel and the Judges’ Choice Award, which are scheduled to be presented at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg on 31 August.