Jette Koch
June 6, 2023

Crystal Cabin Awards 2023: Winners announced in Hamburg

And the award goes to: Air New Zealand, AirFi, Collins Aerospace, Lantal Textiles, Teledyne Controls, Thales Avionics, TU Delft // New trophy design highlights development towards a more sustainable cabin

Hamburg, 6 June 2023 – At a gala dinner at Hamburg’s prestigious Chambers of Commerce, the Crystal Cabin Awards Association has awarded its coveted trophies for innovation in cabin technology and passenger experience. A jury of 28 industry experts selected seven innovative products from a highly varied field of nearly 80 entries. Taken together, the winning entries represent a vision of air travel that’s more connected, more comfortable and more sustainable than ever before.

“This year’s submissions included many outstanding innovations that set new standards for the passenger experience,” comments Lukas Kaestner, President of the Crystal Cabin Awards Association. “It’s especially exciting that some of these stunning products will be flying very soon, while others offer a more tentative vision of air travel in the future. It’s been amazing to see the passion and commitment of the industry to offer a new level of service for passengers, crews and airlines. The award has again shown its potential as a strong indicator of both technology trends and emerging passenger needs, cementing its valuable function in the wider aviation industry. We’re already looking forward to hosting the event in Hamburg again next year,” Kaestner continues.

Winner Cabin Concepts: Air New Zealand “Skynest”

To win the Crystal Cabin Award in the Cabin Concepts category, entries must show an outstanding level of innovation that offers a new level of passenger experience. With its winning entry, Skynest, Air New Zealand provides a never-before-seen option for economy passengers: lie-in bunks for up to four hours of rest and relaxation for the airline’s longest flights. Each pod includes a full-size pillow, sheets and blanket, ear plugs, a separate reading light, personal device USB outlet, ventilation outlet and lighting designed for rest. The Skynest option will be available from 2024 on Air New Zealand’s ultra-long haul routes to North America, including Chicago and New York.

Winner Cabin Systems, Materials and Components: Thales Avionics “Onboard Data Center”

Thales Avionics’ winning entry, Onboard Data Center (ODC) introduces an IT architecture to commercial passenger aircraft that uses a system of “blades” sharing storage and computing capabilities. The jury were particularly impressed by the prospect of using web-based technologies in the air that are already in widespread use on the ground, as they offer up to ten times the capacity of existing IFE servers. The modularity of ODC also helped Thales Avionics clinch the title; the ability to swap out blades in the future and so make the system upgradeable was seen as a potentially valuable asset.

Winner Health & Safety: Teledyne Controls “ACES”

With its cabin air quality monitoring system ACES, Teledyne Systems has secured the 2023 award for a product that allows operators to monitor air quality in the cabin more effectively than ever before, with benefits for passenger safety and wellbeing. ACES monitors several parameters in real-time and relays the data directly to ground stations. The system uses laboratory-standard sensors to check airborne particulates as well as gasses such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone as well as volatile organic compounds. While the system provides new insights into cabin air quality, the jury also lauded ACES’ ability to reduce airline maintenance costs and aircraft downtime by allowing operators to validate repairs on-board with no additional sensor systems required.

Winner Passenger Comfort: Collins Aerospace “Intelisence”

Collins Aerospace’s Intelisence capitalises on developments in artificial intelligence to leverage data gleaned from cameras and sensors to predict passengers’ ideal travel experience. A key aspect that motivated the jury to single out Intelisence was the multi-faceted potential benefits of the system. Anticipating the needs of the customer before they reach for the call button could let airlines provide a more seamless service. Yet the data generated could also allow operators to plan resources more effectively, reducing waste and increasing efficiency. At the same time, data about passenger needs is collated and presented to cabin crew in a way that reduces workload, bringing potential benefits for crew as well as passengers.

Winner IFEC and Digital Services: AirFi, coop. Iridium “LEO Connectivity Solution”

Connectivity was a key trend in submissions in 2023, reflecting both heightened passenger expectations of internet services in the air and the determination of the industry to offer a new connectivity experience closer to services on the ground. The LEO Connectivity Solution by AirFi and its cooperation partner Iridium proved a compelling proposition for the jury of industry experts. Invisible to the passenger, the LEO Connectivity Solution connects to the Iridium Certus system using a pen-sized antenna housed in the window frame that costs substantially less than typical broadband antenna solutions. The system offers added connectivity for both passengers and crew; travellers can chat with family, friends and co-workers on WhatsApp and iMessage, while the crew can use the system to access ACARS transmissions or validate credit card payments.

Winner Sustainable Cabin: Lantal Textiles “Deep Dyed Carpet”

Lower environmental impact is fast becoming a new benchmark for the aircraft interiors industry, reflected in the introduction of the Sustainable Cabin category in 2022. This year, the award goes to Deep Dyed Carpet by Lantal Textiles. The winning entry shows potential to improve the ecological footprint of aircraft cabins in multiple ways, saving not only 60% of water and 80% of waste during production but also aircraft weight and thus CO2 emissions. At the same time, this ultra-lightweight carpet is visually customizable to the customer’s needs. To achieve this, Lantal Textiles devised a new digital deep dyeing technology for carpets, an advance rewarded by the jury with the Crystal Cabin Award 2023.

Winner University: Technical University of Delft “Lightweight Aircraft Seating”

Designed to offer students a forum for imaginative clean-sheet designs, the University category is one of the most innovative areas of the Crystal Cabin Awards. This year the honour is awarded to a team from the Technical University of Delft for Lightweight Aircraft Seating. 3D-printed using sustainable fibres, this lightweight seat cushion reduces the amount of material needed while supporting the passenger’s body in an optimal way and at the same time reducing the weight of each seat and the aircraft overall.

New trophy design highlights trend towards a more sustainable cabin

The 2023 edition of the Crystal Cabin Award features a new trophy, awarded for the first time on 6 June in Hamburg. The trophy is manufactured by Fraunhofer IPT in a highly innovative process using recycled materials. The polymer-based processes and materials used to make the award will soon be used for a new generation of sustainable cabin components, helping to reduce emissions from the aircraft cabin industry.


A full PR package for all seven winners including photos from the awards ceremony for the 2023 Crystal Cabin Awards is available here

Meet the winners at Aircraft Interiors Expo on 7 June in Hamburg

The winners of the 2023 Crystal Cabin Awards will present their concepts during a special event at Aircraft Interiors Expo at Cabin Space Live on 7 June at 2pm in Cabin Space Live, Hall B1 (Lower). The Crystal Cabin Award also has its own stand in Hall 6 (6B88-C) opposite the Hamburg Lounge, presenting all 21 finalist entries.

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Angus Baigent
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