Today and tomorrow - How we will fly

The Aircraft Interiors Expo will see more than 500 companies from all over the world presenting their latest products for aircraft cabins

Today and tomorrow - How we will fly


From 27 to 29 March, Hamburg will once again be the display window for aircraft cabin products: seats and trolleys made of ultra-light materials, valuable ecologically and, economically, the latest entertainment products and innovative technologies. The Aircraft Interiors Expo is being held in the city for the eleventh time in a row. And it has never been bigger than this. “This year 500 exhibiting companies have booked the largest amount of space at Aircraft Interiors Expo yet,” declares John Hyde, director of the expo, with delight. As in previous years, the 1,111-square-metre 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 expertise here. Culinary delights and gastronomical trends above the clouds can be tasted and tested at the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo, taking place for the first time this year in Hamburg, co-located with Aircraft Interiors Expo. Another new development is a conference focussed on cabin innovations and strategies for the future, offered by the Expo’s organiser, Reed Exhibitions, the day before the Expo.

"The aircraft cabin was never as important as it is today. And never before has so much money been invested in aircraft fittings. Lufthansa alone is investing a total of more than 3 billion euros in modernising the cabin fittings of its existing fleet in a programme that started last year and will run until 2015," reports Bernhard Conrad, President of the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region and Head of Development Operations and Innovation at Lufthansa Technik. He adds,  "Airlines sell seats either because of the price of the ticket or because of the quality of the product – the on-board flight experience. And this is something that the airlines can best try out at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. But even apart from this leading trade fair for aircraft interior fittings, Hamburg is the hotspot for the international 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."

The cabin expertise of northern Germany will also be plain to see at the stand of Hanse-Aerospace, Germany’s largest aerospace supplier association. With 1,111 square metres and more than 60 exhibitors, the so-called Hanse Pavilion in Hall B6 will once again be the largest stand at the trade fair. Uwe Gröning, President of Hanse-Aerospace, observes that "the aviation industry has effectively completely restructured itself in recent years. Many small and medium-sized suppliers have demonstrated their flexibility and their entrepreneurial foresight and adjusted to this restructuring. The Aircraft Interiors Expo is an outstanding opportunity to find out about this broad spectrum of companies and to discover the capabilities and performance of their products and services." 

The Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region also has its stand in the Hanse Pavillion. Two exemplary milestones in research and training are also on display alongside the association itself: the Hamburg Centre of Aviation Training (HCAT) and the ZAL Center for Applied Aeronautical Research. In the HCAT Cabin Laboratory, for example, students can put theory into practice. How do light, acoustics and the thermal environment affect passengers in the aircraft cabin? What is the optimal way to utilise the cargo hold? And what is the ideal cabin configuration for various user groups? Various fuselage segments, climate and acoustic chambers, cargo loading and cabin systems, galleys, lavatories and seats are available in the cabin laboratory for students to try things out in practice. And not just students. Technicians, trainers, aircraft manufacturers and maintenance providers, too. It's not only the quality cabin infrastructure that makes HCAT so special; it is also the concept itself. Universities, vocational training schools and the industry itself are networking their qualification programs here under one roof. Research and technological development focussed on application take place under a single roof at the ZAL Center for Applied Aeronautical Research with its TestCenter at Lufthansa Technik and the new TechCenter at Finkenwerder, which is due to open soon. Airbus will shift a large part of its cabin competencies to this technology center to work together with system suppliers, research institutions and universities on the industrialisation of aviation technologies.

Once again, one highlight of the Aircraft Interiors Expo will be the presentation of the Crystal Cabin Awards. This innovation prize for aircraft cabins, one of its kind worldwide, was established in 2007 by Hamburg’s aviation cluster. The products and concepts of the 18 finalists can be viewed and assessed on display boards and, to some extent, with 3D animations in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery at stand A20 in Hall B1.

Hall B1 is also the starting point for the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo, which stretches to Hall B4. This trade fair for the travel catering sector is being held in parallel with Aircraft Interiors Expo for the first time this year, with numerous culinary delights to tempt visitors, along with a “Taste of Travel Theater” in which first-class chefs will cook live for the audience. Leading companies from within the industry, including LSG Sky Chefs, Gate Gourmet and Servair, along with more than 180 other catering and on-board service specialists, will be exhibiting.

And there will be more news at Aircraft Interiors Expo. According to John Hyde, director of  Aircraft Interiors Expo, "In addition to the usual mix of leading edge cabin interior products and technologies on the exhibition floor, we have organised our first conference this year. The ‘Cabin Innovation & Strategies for the Future Conference’ takes place on Monday 26 March in the A Halls at the Hamburg Messe – the day before the exhibition doors open. It is already proving popular with representatives from more than 60 airlines from around the world registered to attend. We’d also like to encourage all attendees to the exhibition to visit our new ‘Passenger Ideas Wall’,  which will be located in Hall B1,  to both add their own thoughts on how the onboard experience can be improved, and also to learn from ideas that have already been posted there during the event."