aircraft interiors expo our view AIX 2019

We’re back from the 2019 Aircraft Interiors Expo and are happy to share some of the valuable information and interesting innovations from our trip.


If you’d like to talk about your initiatives for connecting, engaging and delighting passengers, please reach out.


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PDT an Astronics Company: Product Design and Development Firm in Chicago, IL
comfort & enjoyment

AIM Altitude Ultraflex cabin features transformable spaces for passengers on long-haul flights. Communal and individual areas focus on delivering a tailored passenger experience.


Haeco’s Eclipse hybrid seat delivers more privacy for short-haul business class and long-haul premium economy passengers while, together with the integrated cabin, creating up to 14% more space for passenger places (PAX) within the same cabin space.


Safran’s VERSA business class seat offers a fully horizontal bed and is built to be a modular, customizable solution that can work with different airline requirements.

British Airways is rolling out new Club Suite seats which will feature wi-fi, a door, IFE screens and PC/USB power.



The Cambiano business class seat was created by Iacobucci HF Aerospace and Pininfarina and can offer a fully flat bed at a 67in pitch.

Butterfly Seating showed its business class solution that enables two seats to turn into one lay-flat bed in a matter of seconds.

Rebel Aero’s Joy economy seat features a spring loaded ‘flip up booster’ and the option to stagger the middle seat to eliminate contact between passengers.

The Astronics AES EmPower In-Seat Power System makes charging all-important devices possible.


USB-C charging is also available.

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Bucher’s galley shopping window enables sales of duty-free goods in an easy to use vending-style interaction. Sales and inventory can be tracked with its inventory management system and sophisticated EPS system.

SkyTender’s Sky Barista Trolleys allow passengers to have a barista-style coffee, including frothy milk, at their seat while in the sky.

A handful of exhibitors acknowledged the littlest passengers in their offerings.

the internet of flight

Stelia Aerospace’s connected passenger seat concept for first class and business class aims to collect and leverage data to aid with maintenance, enhance the passenger experience and drive loyalty and royalty opportunities.


Panasonic’s Jet Lag Advisor app processes flight plans and passenger data like height, weight and circadian rhythms to produce a personalized plan to combat the effects of long-range travel.

Inflight Shoppertainment by Sky Deals enables fly over deals, where customized product offerings can be delivered to passengers based over where the plane is located in the world.
Wollsdorf Leather is working with development partners to create smart solutions incorporated right into their leather, making it possible to have tech functionality generated ‘in the leather’ rather than through it.


Astronics subsidiary, Astronics Ballard Technology, displayed their IoT Smart Cabin System, which leverages sensors and technology to monitor some systems electronically. The system can communicate where there is available space in luggage bins and which seats are occupied, among other functionality.

The Airbus Connected Experience concept includes connected galleys, meal trolleys, seats, luggage bins and more. The concept has now received the green light to become a real IoT solution that they’re calling the Airbus Connected Experience. It is expected to be flying at the end of 2020.


One challenge mentioned at AIX was the need to find a common language to share across the Internet of Things, as lack of standardization is a current issue. learn more


the digital journey

During the Summit sessions of AIX 2019, innovation was discussed often.


Major barriers to real innovation were identified as:

        resistance to change

        risk avoidance

        failure seen as unacceptable and/or not part of the process

        a lack of cooperation amongst members of the industry


Ultimately, the human experience is what will make passengers come back and fall in love with a brand. Digital is just part of the experience.
connected/info sharing The In-flight Entertainment & Connectivity (IFEC) market is projected to grow from USD 5.03 billion in 2018 to USD 7.65 billion by 2023.



Airbus shared some incredible stats during their presentation at AIX 2019

6.1 billion expected smartphone users in the world by 2020

2007 Zero connected airlines

2017 -106 airlines

2018 – 123 airlines

57 airlines offer wireless IFE stream in 2018

50% of smartphone users plan on using the smartphone to book a flight


Source: Airbus presentation at AIX 2019 Summit


Google recently announced STADIA, a gaming platform that can be used across multiple devices and screens. With Netflix now streaming in-flight on some carriers, we wonder who will be the first to support gaming on an airplane?


Michael Kuehn, President, Astronics CSC


Star Alliance is working toward making info sharing more seamless among their brands.

Vision Systems’ Info-Vision Window integrates both SPD and electroluminescent technologies. Passengers can view travel information on the panel easily, as the tint can automatically adjust in real-time, providing optimal contrast and readability.

Star Alliance carriers will soon offer an app that enables passengers to access information about any of the Star Alliance members in one place.


“Future trends in connectivity hardware systems include cabin wireless access points featuring WPA3-Enterprise (protocol that supports security measures such as perfect forward secrecy), which is the latest evolution in data encryption and security enhancements for Wi-Fi.”

Vision Systems’ Info-Vision Window integrates both SPD and electroluminescent technologies. Passengers can view travel information on the panel easily, as the tint can automatically adjust in real-time, providing optimal contrast and readability.

Astronics CSC’s cutting-edge server acts as the cornerstone of inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions. The team can help you solve how to implement or evolve streaming multi-media applications and wireless internet services for passengers' personal electronic devices.

Astronics CSC’s Sierra is the company’s the third-generation, streaming, portable InFlight Entertainment (IFE) system. It is designed to meet requirements of short-term aircraft trials as well as long-term IFE solution needs.

Developed by Astronics AeroSat, in conjunction with partner Phasor, the new SATCOM inflight connectivity antennas feature electronically steered array (ESA) technology that will deliver unprecedented connection reliability for aircraft. Astronics’ E-Series antennas will feature Phasor’s active electronically steered array to provide maximum antenna performance. Unlike competing systems, the E-Series will feature technology that enables a simultaneous transmit and receive from a single antenna array, with no need for bulky extra panels that drive up costly size and weight.

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travel: the 4th place

Heavyweights like Panasonic and Airbus were talking about travel being the “Fourth Place” or “Fourth Dimension”.  The Fourth Place would be where ever travelers are, but still being connected and feeling like a home away from home behind:


Airbus acknowledged, though, that Airlines are not moving as fast as the world when it comes to smartphone usage and support.


In-seat control took many forms at AIX 2019.

Lighter, tougher, more interesting and even kind of magical, materials and finishes caught our eye throughout the show.

materials & lighting

Patterns can add interest and support an airline’s brand identity.

Finish options on galley faucets.

Winter Created exhibited a number of technologies integrated into their Alcantara fabrics, which is durable and has a zero carbon footprint.

LED lights are embroidered on Alcantara, a soft, strong, carbon-neutral fabric, and connected with conductive yarns.


Conductive yarns are embroidered into Alcantara to add heating.


PriestmanGoode worked with Schott to create in-seat reading lights with beautiful finishes that enhance the seating ambiance.

Astronics PGA introduced new Nuancia RGBW Strip Lights to provide flexible illumination options for aircraft seats and cabins. With this system, aircraft manufacturers and airlines can program mood-lighting systems to accommodate more than 16 million colors, create preset color scenarios, and present color changes.

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Pitch seating shows a clever, simple and elegant seat back storage solution.

MGRSoftWall® by MGR Foamtex is a padded vertical wall covering that is capable of meeting the latest heat release and smoke density requirements.

Christian Langer, Chief Digital Officer of Lufthansa, noted during the conference that the automotive industry is also actively innovating to increase passenger comfort and satisfaction, but within a quicker cycle. He suggested the aerospace market has to get faster with innovation. Did you see our report from the North American Auto Shows? read the report
the 3 female high-end travel tribes

Airbus referred to a qualitative Quant Research study based on 2,000 individuals who fly business class or above in the US or Brazil during an AIX presentation.


nomadic business woman social socializer luxploring family

Nomadic business women are looking for a cabin experience that empowers them to perform at the top of their game.


Social socializers have a passion for travelling. They’re looking for authentic and rich cabin experiences to extend the vacation vibe.

The luxploring family is looking to bond with whole family. They want travel to be easy and educational.



of this tribe believe the airports and airlines cater to men's needs


believe they are at the bottom of airline priority compared to families


believe the journey is stressful due to lack of seating configurations for families


see business travel as a great break from home life


believe their lifestyle is judged by the type of holidays they go on


believe the main purpose is to bond with family


wish it was easier to network on business trips


feel that personal growth and sense of independence are enhanced by traveling


feel its difficult to experience real luxury with a family

Whether crew wear, amenity kits, or dishware, exhibitors at AIX featured some well-designed, head-turning options.


Pleasant surprise seeing some of the process and inspiration behind designs.

eco friendly
“...humans are now producing 150m tons of single-use plastic every year, more than 8m of which are dumped into the sea. Half of all plastic is used just once before being thrown away.”

-Campaign group Plastic Oceans Foundation,


The EU parliament voted to ban single-use plastic cutlery, straws, and coffee stirrers as part of a ban on single-use plastics. The law will go into effect by 2021 in all EU member states. Cutlery suppliers are responding with more sustainable offerings made with materials like bamboo, wood and paper.

Airline amenity kits were also seen leveraging the green movement, this one made with cork, signaling to passengers their goal of delivering a more eco-friendly experience.

Aeromexico is reupholstering seats on their their fleets with covers constructed with recycled leather waste material by ELeather. The company uses discarded leather from textile production to combine with a textile core.

The ST Engineering SpaceLite seating solution is made with a singular carbon fiber composite seat back. The sleek seat is only 10kg/pax, increasing the aircraft’s fuel efficiency.

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Contributors: Gil Cavada, George Guffey, Erik Moses, Nicole Byer, Jake Vail, John Hannon, Brian Perille

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