Aircraft cabin fair in Hamburg

More than 500 companies from all over the world will reveal how passengers could be flying now and in the future

Aircraft cabin fair in Hamburg

This week, Hamburg will once again be presented with the entire fascinating world of today’s and tomorrow’s aircraft cabins, spread over 31,300 square metres of exhibition space. The tenth consecutive Aircraft Interiors Expo is being held in the exhibition halls of the Hamburg Trade Fair from 5 to 7 April. More than 500 companies from all over the world are presenting their latest products, such as ultralight seats and trolleys, the latest entertainment systems, and innovative materials and technologies that are as environmentally friendly as they are economically efficient – and enhance passenger comfort. As in previous years, the 1,100 square metres Hanse Pavilion will be the largest stand, shared by 60 exhibitors from the association Hanse-Aerospace. The Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region will also be presenting its cabin competence here.

"Hamburg marches to the beat of the international aircraft cabin industry. Airbus and Lufthansa Technik work together here in close cooperation with suppliers, universities and research facilities to develop modern cabin fittings and sophisticated technologies. Hamburg is therefore an ideal location for the Aircraft Interiors Expo", says Walter Birkhan, Interim President of the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region Association. "Because the event covers every aspect of the cabin interior there really is something for everyone which is why we continue to be the number one aircraft interiors marketplace in the world", adds Katie Murphy, Exhibition Director of Aircraft Interiors Expo. "There are some very interesting concepts on show during the exhibition this year, as well as a range of highly innovative new products – all aimed at meeting the needs of airline cabin interior buyers as well as passengers."

One very current example of Hamburg’s networked and sustainable cabin expertise is the Hamburg Centre of Aviation Training (HCAT), due to be officially opened on 26 May. What makes HCAT special is the inter-campus cooperation between the aviation industry, universities and trade schools, unique in Europe. The joint infrastructure will see the already close cooperation between the partners enhanced by even better networking, allowing all partners to benefit from synergies. The aim is for the latest discoveries from research and development to be immediately integrated in the academic and continuing education programmes. Whilst HCAT I, also known as ASQ, will principally focus on avionics and structure qualifications, HCAT II will be home to the Cabin and Cabin Systems (CCS) Laboratory. "CCS provides the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg with new, outstandingly well-equipped laboratory facilities which are of fundamental significance for the excellent engineering programme in the unique major of Cabins and Cabin Systems. The joint usage means that the other partners in the inter-campus cooperation also benefit from CCS," explains Prof. Hartmut Zingel from the University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg). 

Airbus, for example, is contributing to the equipping of the laboratory with an A300 fuselage segment for demonstrating the cargo loading system. Modellbau Möbius was commissioned by HAW Hamburg to develop a cockpit model. Lufthansa Technical Training, meanwhile, is equipping the entire workshop area with riveting room, laminating room, and grinding room for ASQ’s structure area. HCAT was initiated by the Aviation Industry Qualification Initiative as part of the Leading-Edge Cluster strategy, "A new kind of aviation", and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Many of the supported projects relate to the competence area of cabins. The German Aerospace Center’s Department of Aviation and Space Psychology, for example, analyses the influence of light within the aircraft cabin on the sense of temperature and comfort experienced by passengers. The company Bishop is testing a new seating rail which is narrower and therefore more attractive as well as more lightweight than current seating rails, providing increased flexibility. Lufthansa Technik is developing new technologies to optimise the maintenance, repair and overhaul of modern aircraft generations throughout the life cycle. Together with partners from the industry and the universities, Lufthansa Technik is investigating ways to improve cabin acoustics and to improve the cleaning of on-board heat exchangers. And Airbus is conducting research into the use of fuel cells to generate electricity for aircraft cabins.

The members of Hanse-Aerospace alone, Germany’s largest supplier association for the aeronautical and aerospace industry, represent 14 percent of exhibitors this year; some of them have their own stands, but most are at the joint Hanse-Aerospace stand in the Hanse Pavilion in Hall B6. "The activities and expertise of 57 percent of Hanse-Aerospace’s members are primarily focussed on the area of aircraft cabins. In this respect, the Aircraft Interiors Expo is the most important trade fair for us – an outstanding opportunity to present our competence in this area," notes Uwe Gröning, President of Hanse-Aerospace.

The Center for Applied Aviation Research (ZAL) is also part of the Leading-Edge Cluster strategy and is represented at the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region stand. ZAL operates from two locations. The BusinessCenter is located in the Airport Plaza at the airport, and the TestCenter is located at the Lufthansa Technik base. From 2013, the TechCenter in the Finkenwerder district of Hamburg will bring the application-oriented research and technological development of Hamburg as a centre of aviation together under one roof. "Cabin concepts and technologies are one of the focal points of the TechCenter. ZAL and Airbus are inviting industrial and academic partners from Germany and abroad to participate in the industrialisation of aviation technologies at the site. Research and development will be supplemented by consulting services such as System Safety Assessments (SSAs) to support the certification of aircraft systems," comments Dr Andreas Vahl, ZAL’s Managing Director.

Just a few steps away from the Hanse Pavilion, at the stand G95, you can find the Crystal Cabin Awards Finalist Gallery. Large information displays present the 21 innovative products and concepts for aircraft cabins which have been nominated for the final round. Winners will be presented to the public on the second day of the trade fair, Wednesday 6 April, at 11am in the finalists gallery. 

About the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region
In 2001, the "Joint Initiative Hamburg – The place for aviation" was established by Hamburg aviation companies, trade associations, institutions, universities, and authorities. A network of partners with a combined workforce of more than 39,000 people developed out of the initiative. It has now been formalised with the establishment of the "Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region Association". The largest employers in this technology-driven network are Airbus, Lufthansa Technik and Hamburg Airport. A further 300 small and medium-sized enterprises are also actively involved in the industry as suppliers and service providers; some of these are represented by the Hanse-Aerospace and HECAS associations. The integrated strategy of making aviation more economical, more ecological, more comfortable, more reliable, and more flexible helped the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region to win the non-industry specific Leading-Edge Cluster competition, organised by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in September 2008. The Ministry has provided a sustainable basis for the development of the cluster to a competency centre for "a new kind of aviation" by investing around 40 million euros in forward-looking northern German aviation projects.