The boards of the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) and ARINC are expected to consider by the end of this month a proposal for the formation of a new body to develop cabin standards.

The new standardisation authority, the International Airlines Cabin Committee, should be established and funded by next March, recommends the WAEA's Cabin Systems Task Force (CSTF), which developed the proposal. Without the new body, warns the CSTF, cabin standard development could cease as the Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee (AEEC), responsible for cabin standard efforts, can no longer cope with the workload involved.

"The cost, complexity and importance of cabin equipment has grown significantly," says the CSTF, which comprises airlines, in-flight entertainment (IFE) equipment suppliers, airframe manufacturers, the AEEC/ ARINC and the International Air Transport Association.

The bulk of cabin standards are developed by the AEEC's Cabin Equipment Interfaces (CEI) subcommittee, which is jointly funded by ARINC/AEEC and the WAEA. Last year, ARINC spent $330,000 supporting cabin system standards development. The WAEA contributes $40,000 to annual AEEC expenses. ARINC's costs for next year are projected to be $410,000.

Because of the growing complexity of modern IFE systems, the CEI's work programme has increased every year and the limited funding has resulted in a slow pace of standards development. The AEEC is concerned that growing cabin work will require a reduction in avionics standards work, which is crucial to communications, navigation and surveillance/air traffic management implementation.

If a new standards body is not formed, the CSTF warns that CEI standards work could cease, resulting in increased costs in cabin equipment and installation, and decreased interchangeability of components, choice of equipment, performance, reliability and customer satisfaction. The CSTF recommends the new body is funded 80% by airlines and 20% by cabin system suppliers.

Source: Flight International