Crystal Cabin Winners: 8 ideas that make flying better

Crystal Cabin Winners: 8 ideas that make flying better

by Lukas Kirchner | News | Monday, 09 April, 2018

Crystal Cabin Awards 2018 go to Airbus, Bluebox Aviation Systems, Cranfield University, PriestmanGoode, Renacen, Rockwell Collins (2x), and Villinger.

The 12th Crystal Cabin Awards were presented in Hamburg on Tuesday, 10 April. The winners of the world's most famous and highly regarded prize for aircraft interiors are Airbus, Bluebox Aviation Systems, Cranfield University, PriestmanGoode, Renacen, Rockwell Collins (2x), and Villinger. They received their trophies in the ballroom of the Hotel Atlantic Kempinksi. Particularly successful this year was Rockwell Collins, taking two trophies home and being cooperation partner in a third winning concept, in addition. The Crystal Cabin Award trophies are presented each year as part of the "Aircraft Interiors Expo" trade fair. The award, initiated by Hamburg Aviation, set a new record this year, with 91 entries.

For the first time, a Crystal Cabin Award was awarded in the category of "Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity", known for short as "IFEC". Better network connectivity and better entertainment attract passengers, and the winner proved how the latter - entertainment - can be made accessible: Bluebox Aviation Systems developed its own IFE platform with on-board entertainment for the visually impaired. The product is already in service with the cooperation partner, Virgin Atlantic. Joe Leader, CEO of the Airline Passenger Experience Association, APEX, presented the award.

The PriestmanGoode industrial design agency, together with Qatar Airways and Rockwell Collins, carried the day in the "Cabin Concepts" category with its "Qatar Airways QSuite". With just a simple flick of the hand, it allows four Business Class suites to be arranged around a table for eating and socialising with family and friends. The coveted trophy was presented by Polly Magraw, Event Director at Reed Exhibitions, organiser of the Aircraft Interiors Expo.

The award in the "Cabin Systems" category for 2018 goes to Rockwell Collins and the company's partition wall between Business and Economy Class, "Silhouette MOVE". The wall behind Business is bowed in such a way that the Economy passenger sitting behind it still has enough legroom and space for cabin baggage. Ian Harbison, Editor in Chief of the industry magazine Aircraft Cabin Management, presented the award to the winning team.

The "Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment" category, presented by Dr Holger Friehmelt, Head of Institute of Aviation FH Joanneum Graz, was down to earth this year. Villinger prevailed with "LiteHeat", a heated floor panel. Whilst most foil or cable-wrapped heated floor elements are often extremely sensitive, this Austrian innovation is ostensibly indestructible, regardless of outside impact.

Printing a revolution: Airbus and Altran were victorious in the "Material & Components" category, thanks to their "Printed Electrics" process. Cable harnesses for cabin electronics may soon be a thing of the past, if wiring is directly printed using this process. The new technology was jointly developed in Hamburg's ZAL TechCenter. Carl Fruth, Managing Director of FIT AG, has a special relationship to the trophy he presented: this year, for the first time, the Crystal Cabin Award trophies were produced using 3D printing - by his company.

With its creative approach to increasing comfort, Rockwell Collins took home yet another Crystal Cabin Award, this time in the "Passenger Comfort Hardware" category. The company's "Valkyrie Bed" for Premium Business Class offers a no-compromise seat and bed, where others just recline the seat. The secret: a roll-up mattress can be drawn across the seat from the wall panel when needed. Jury member Paul Sweeney, Qantas Airways Program Manager, congratulated the winners.

The "University" category was more international than ever this year. Students from England, Scotland and the USA all made it into the final of the Crystal Cabin Award this year. In the end, it was Britain's Cranfield University that took the honours. The "E-tom Smart" water tap concept, which uses water nebulisation to save up to 90 percent of this resource, convinced the jury and was honoured with a trophy, presented by juror Yung Han Ng, Vice President Product Innovation at Singapore Airlines.

The "Visionary Concepts" category, presented by Melissa Raudebaugh, Delta Air Lines General Manager and Chair of the Crystal Cabin Award Jury, once again honoured concepts that the jury considered particularly forward-looking. It was Spanish company Renacen with cooperation partner Emirates Airline that won here, with the "3D Seat Map VR" software. During the flight booking, the application offers a virtual 360-degree view of the cabin from the passenger perspective.

The Crystal Cabin Award winners offer a glimpse into the future of aircraft interiors. Nobody knows this environment better than Fred Finn, the most travelled man, according to Guinness World Records. Although the Crystal Cabin Award's keynote speaker has collected 15 million frequent flyer miles over the last decades, flying will never be boring, he insists - even though his favorite jet, the Concorde in which he made 718 record breaking flights, has been long out of service. "Of course you develop routines and eventually you will also know the crew and the one or the other passenger. But innovation for comfort, cuisine and entertainment will never stop surprising me", says the 76-year-old British expatriate.

Alongside Qatar Airways, the newly introduced Airline Table at the ceremony hosted Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Finnair, Westjet and others. The table was made available by the Airline Passenger Experience Association APEX. The host for the gala evening was journalist and APEX Media Director Maryann Simson.

The winners will present their products Thursday 12 April, at 11:00 a.m. in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery (Hall B3, upper floor) at the world's largest cabin trade fair, the Aircraft Interiors Expo (10 - 12 April in Hamburg).

The Crystal Cabin Award 2018 is supported by the following sponsors and media partners: Airbus, Aircraft Cabin Management, Aircraft Interiors Expo (Reed Exhibitions), Aircraft Interiors International Magazine, AIME 2019 - Aircraft Interiors Middle East, ALTRAN S.A.S. Co. KG, Ameco Beijing, APEX, ATR, Boltaron Inc. - A SIMONA Company, DIEHL Aviation, FERCHAU AVIATION Division, FIT AG - Additive Manufacturing Group, Flightchic, Flightglobal, Future Travel Experience, Global Eagle, HAECO Cabin Solutions, Inflight Magazine, Jetliner Cabins, Lufthansa Technik AG, Panasonic, Rockwell Collins, Runway Girl Network, SEKISUI SPI and Thales.

Notice for the media:

The winners will personally present their concepts to the public on Thursday, 12 April, at 11:00 a.m. in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (Hall B3, upper level).

All the finalists in a Youtube playlist: