Last week, I attended the Aircraft Interiors Expo AIX19 in Hamburg; below is the show summary with some interesting photos.
American Airlines is starting to operate scheduled flights using the first of their 100 new Airbus A321neo aircraft, which they have had on order. These aircraft come equipped with the larger Airspace XL overhead luggage bins, that increase carry-on bag capacity.
American is the launch customer for the Airspace XL bins, which wil provide approximately 40 percent more overhead storage space for passengers on board the 196-seat aircraft. In addition to equipping its new A321neos with the XL bins, American also plans to retrofit its entire in-service fleet of previous A321 models – more than 200 aircraft – with the cabin features included on the new A321neos.
The Airspace XL bins accommodate larger luggage – up 24” x 16” x 10” – allowing standard roll-on bags to be loaded on their sides instead of being inserted flat. This creates room for up to four bags in each bin instead of the current three. The larger bins will significantly reduce the number of passenger bags checked at the gate, which subsequently get sent to the cargo hold.
Airbus has extended its Airspace Customer Definition Centre (CDC) at its Airbus site in Hamburg Germany, by now including the A320 and A330 programmes – to complement the existing A350 XWB customization areas. The CDC now fully adopts the ‘Airspace’ Cabin Brand, which was first launched with the A330neo, and sets new cabin standards of comfort, ambience, service and design for airlines and their passengers. Consequently, the CDC was renamed to Airspace Customer Definition Centre.
“With the ability of the A320-Family aircraft to serve long-range routes and the A330neo evolution, the cabins of these aircraft families have become more specific and are subject to intense customisation” said Sören Scholz, Airbus Senior Vice President Cabin & Cargo Programme.
“Since today four out of five A350 XWB customers are simultaneously A320/A330 operators this step is a win-win-situation for all involved stakeholders to foster and streamline the cabin definition across their fleet.”
The combination of: functional play rooms for cabin equipment testing, exhibition areas for typical airline product staging, design studios for material and mood light definitions and virtual and augmented reality technology complemented by customer-specific mock-up areas, make the Airspace CDC a unique one-stop-shop for customers.
Now let's take a look at some of the seat displays at the show.
The below "standing seat" is an innovation by Avio Interiors from Italy. These seats are not certified to fly yet, it is still a conceptual seat.
Optimares also displayed one of their interesting Business Class seats for narrow body long haul travel, 2 seats sharing the same aisle for access.
The pictures below represent the Airbus concept seat for their narrow body's, such as the A320 family. The whole row of seats is designed to sit just one passenger. A passenger sitting up right in the aisle position has standard Economy Class legroom, but will receive additional space and comfort next to them.
There was a mock up of the "AIRSPACE" cabin by Airbus, which will be fitted onto future A320neo in addition to A330neo and A350. This mock up cabin features Airbus Airspace XL bins; in my opinion, the bins are very large and spacious. However, like many existing overhead bins, the head room is still quite limited.
Boeing were showcasing their Boeing Sky interior with XL Bins on the Boeing 737. There were also displays of up coming Boeing 777X overhead bins and dim-able window technology.
What was also very interesting is that the Airbus Connected Experience goes from concept phase to reality. The Connected galley will enable passengers to pre-order from a dedicated prediction of preferred food & beverages. It will also enable cabin crew to benefit from full transparency of inventory management for efficient operations, as well as facilitating remote passenger communication to deliver quick and personalised passenger service based on individual preferences.The trolley next to me is a "smart" trolley connecting the information with an iPad to show real time inventory. It will help guide cabin crew to locate the food items faster as well.
It was my first time attending such an interesting industry show, focused on cabin innovation and interiors. I certainly learnt a lot from this and I am looking forward to returning to the show next year.