Aircraft cabin interiors will increasingly take cues from the car industry, which shares the unique challenge of keeping customers happy and comfortable for long periods of time in a confined space. Unlike the automobile sector, however, lead times to develop new aircraft cabins can take years rather than months – so innovation cycles need to be expedited for meaningful emulation to occur.
These were some of the points raised by Christian Langer, chief digital officer at Lufthansa Group and managing director of the Lufthansa Innovation Hub, during the opening session of today's Passenger Experience Conference.
"My firm belief is that we'll see cabin interiors which are modelled by car manufacturers," says Langer, noting that the car industry is one of the few other sectors that has to constantly find innovative ways to keep people fed, entertained and rested in a seat for hours on end.
"The car industry has the same topic to solve but the innovative cycle of the car industry is way quicker than ours. A new car [can be developed] in 18 months, but a new airplane or cabin interior takes years. We need to speed up our innovation cycles, not by 10% but by times X," Langer says.
Innovation is "not possible top down", he says, which is why Lufthansa has set aside an ideas fund to ensure that promising new ideas can be taken forward quickly.
While technology will play a key role in shaping tomorrow's aircraft interiors, Langer stresses the importance of not losing sight of the basics along the way.
"Always at the top of the list is: keep your basics straight. We talk about [in-flight entertainment], but how clean is your cabin? How on time are you? And what's your ecological footprint? Fix your basics and have them brilliant,” he says.
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Source: Flight Daily News