Twenty-five entries from tiny start-ups to the sector’s biggest names are vying for the interior industry’s most coveted accolades, the Crystal Cabin Awards, the winners of which will be revealed on 28 May during AIX in Hamburg.

01_Bermudair_Aisle_Suite-Factorydesign_Dec-23 03

Source: Factorydesign

Factorydesign’s Aisle Class Suite for Bermudair: ‘Avant garde revolution in business class’

The awards are handed out in eight categories – Cabin concepts; Cabin systems; Health & safety; Passenger comfort; IFEC & digital services; Materials and components; Sustainable cabin; and University – and finalists have a last chance to impress the judges on the show’s opening day, before winners are announced at a gala dinner at the Hamburg Chambers of Commerce.


There are three contenders in Cabin concepts, which singles out visionary ideas for airline interiors that are not yet at product stage.

London-based design consultancy Tangerine has teamed with Japan Airlines, Safran Seats and Recaro on a cabin concept for the carrier’s Airbus A350-1000 that the judges say “creates an unparalleled flight experience that seamlessly weaves Japanese aesthetics with modern flight comfort to create a harmonious space of tranquility”.

Meanwhile, Factorydesign’s Aisle Class Suite for BermudAir, the island’s new flag-carrier, “represents an avant-garde revolution in business class [by combining] privacy and luxurious space with a unique aisle concept”. The final candidate in Cabin concepts is Airbus itself, with its Airspace Cabin Vision 2035+, which, according to the judges, combines lightweight construction and “circular economy” ideas to push towards a goal of 40% lighter cabins and waste-reducing catering.


Source: Tangerine

Tangerine’s first class cabin concept for Japan Airlines A350-1000s


Cabin systems is very much about practical technology that makes life easier and more comfortable for crew and passengers. In this category, KID-System is in contention for its compact power convertor that can be used by nine devices at once. Safran’s theCUBE is a solution for cleanly disposing of food and liquid waste in the galley by using UV light to eliminate odours and prevent bacteria.

Australian cabin technology specialist Burrana’s RISE Power is an in-seat power supply system that is fast, weighs only 200g, and can be retrofitted without recertification of the seat.


In the Health & safety category, three very different products are in contention for the overall prize. Safran Passenger Innovations’ Accessible IFE – designed with Air New Zealand and Virgin Atlantic – is an accessible in-flight entertainment product that allows passengers with auditory, visual, cognitive, and motor impairments to enjoy onboard entertainment.

The AirPro by Schroth, in partnership with design studios Teams and Stuhmer/Scholz, combines an integrated airbag and under-seat crash sensor technology, designed to activate in the event of an accident and adaptable to different cabin designs. Finally, the Accenture PED safety bag is for storing personal electronic devices, and promises 100% containment of fire, smoke, and toxic gases if the lithium battery fails.


Source: Safran

Safran’s The Cube is a solution for cleanly disposing of food waste in the galley


The Passenger comfort award covers the all-important segment of seating and wellbeing generally on medium- and long-haul flights.

The Wellbeing Zone from Diehl Aviation and Qantas is an area between the economy and premium economy cabins and designed for flights of up to 22h. A standing area gives travellers the chance to stretch legs and pick up healthy snacks and water from a contactless dispenser. Safran’s Signature Seat for the economy section has a patented, fixed, pre-rest backrest architecture that is adjustable for different body types, and “guarantees personal space for each passenger”.

Lastly, Collins Aerospace’s ARISE “intelligent comfort system” uses sensors and advanced materials to reduce the main disturbances of sleep during flight – body temperature, pressure distribution and vibration – automatically adjusting seat position, cushion pressure and environmental conditions based on real-time data analysis.

Diehl Aviation_Qantas__wellbeing-zone_landscape2

Source: Diehl

Diehl’s Wellbeing Zone combines a standing area with a snacks and water dispenser


IFEC & digital services is a category that grows in importance as more airlines offer in-flight connectivity along with movie and entertainment packages.

Intelsat’s Multi-Orbit Connectivity combines geostationary satellites and low-Earth orbit satellites to enable faster speeds and lower latencies. The ADAPT system from Collins Aerospace allows passengers to control their seat, in-flight entertainment system, and onboard service from their personal mobile devices.

Thales’ FlytEdge is claimed to be the first cloud-based digital and IFE package that enables the integration of web applications and streaming services as well as real-time updates of software and content.


Source: Thales

Thales’ FlytEdge enables the integration of web apps and streaming services


Material & components focuses on creative and practical solutions to passenger comfort, privacy and wellbeing based on advanced manufacturing technologies and materials to reduce weight and environmental impact.

STARLight from Collins Aerospace is a structural technology that uses composites, robotic manufacturing and sustainable materials to enable airlines to design cabin spaces without adding weight. Normally, the doors of business class suites are complex, heavy devices that are challenging to certificate.

Door 2.0, the Zen Privacy Door, from Unum Aircraft Seating and MGR Foamtex is a foldable design inspired by origami that the companies maintain is less complex and easier to obtain approval for.

Finally in this category, the Eco Bracket from Diehl and 9T Labs is a component made from recycled thermoplastic production weight that is half the weight of traditional brackets.

Collins Aerospace_CCA_STARLight_Photo 4_Landscape

Source: Collins Aerospace

Collins’ STARLight is an innovative lightweight technology for designing cabin space


The candidates for the Sustainable cabin award include the R Sphere seat concept from Recaro, which uses materials such as cork, wood, recycled fishing nets and cactus. The manufacturer says it reduces carbon emissions by 63 tonnes per aircraft and is 100% recyclable at the end of its life.

Diehl’s ECO sidewall uses lightweight materials to achieve a weight reduction of 10%. The Onboard Water Dispenser from Safran Cabin uses the existing water supply of the aircraft and UV filter technology to provide clean drinking water, and do away with the need for plastic water bottles.


Source: Recaro

Recaro’s R Sphere seat uses materials such as cork, wood, recycled fishing nets and cactus


The final category is for projects led by University teams, or collaborations between educational institutions and industry.

Flexifold by Tongji University and Dupont is an economy seat that provides improved body support through an innovative fold-and-snap mechanism, and integrates lightweight, breathable materials in a sandwich structure. It is aimed at enhancing comfort in cramped cabin spaces. Silentium in excelsis by the University of Sao Paulo and Embraer is an aircraft noise-cancelling device that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and a camera that directs sound waves at passengers’ heads to reduce white noise from aircraft engines.

The same partners are also singled out for Silvacomfort, a cabin system that deploys sensors, cameras, and AI to adjust environmental conditions for individual passengers by modifying temperature, lighting, and sound based on personal profiles.

Finally, the Wheelchair Space and Securement System, developed by students from Virginia Tech with Boeing, Collins and campaign group All Wheels Up, allows passengers with limited mobility to sit securely in their own wheelchairs during flight. It is integrated into the seating configuration of economy class, but can be adapted when not in use to reduce revenue losses for airlines.


Source: Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech’s Wheelchair Space and Securement System allows passengers with limited mobility to sit in their own wheelchairs during flight