"We are really happy; we welcomed lots of people to our stand over the last few days", these were the thoughts of Marianne Kehle at Axon as Aircraft Interiors Expo - the world's largest display of aircraft interiors products and services - was coming to a close. Her praise of the event was echoed by exhibitors across the show floor. According to Andreas Uthmann, Marketing Director at Schott; "It was business as usual for us [at Aircraft Interiors Expo] - a good flood of people visited our booth and almost everyone [we wanted to see] saw us...We are really looking forward to next year".
The buzz on the show floor was supported by the statistics. The event welcomed over 9,000 visitors (pre-audit figure) from 8-10 April. Over 800 airline representatives were in attendance to witness the future of cabin interior development. They were attracted by over 500 exhibiting companies, representing 31 different countries, which marked a 10% increase in exhibition space compared to 2013 - ensuring that Aircraft Interiors Expo 2014 offered the most comprehensive showcase of new and innovative aircraft interior products across the largest footprint to date.
Air Canada became the first Canadian airline to offer customers Wi-Fi connectivity on board aircraft across North America; delivering email, internet and access to mobile device apps. Boeing also got in on the act, by agreeing to evaluate Gogo's In-Flight Entertainment and connectivity solutions with a view to potentially offering them as line-fit options on new-build aircraft. Meanwhile Altitude Aerospace Interiors announced that its latest galley design is now in-service with a fleet of Boeing 767F aircraft.
Developments in IFE and Connectivity proved one of the dominating themes of the event following a decision by the event organisers, Reed Exhibitions, to increase the dedicated IFE Zone by 8%. New streaming software from Global Eagle Entertainment was unveiled; Thales introduced its latest concept, an immersive experience for business class seats which enables occupants to control embedded IFE using eyeball-tracking technology; Gogo released its 2Ku connectivity service which delivers a global in-flight peak speed of 70Mbps; and Panasonic announced the introduction of Panasonic HD-Audio, a new audio solution which includes a number of features previously unavailable on aircraft.
Aside from the IFE & connectivity element, a series of other product launches and commercial agreements were also announced on the busy show floor. Acro Aircraft Seating revealed its new latchless tray table nicknamed the 'tablet'; a response to customer demands for a more robust, cost effective and maintainable solution. Similarly, Recaro Aircraft Seating presented the CL6710 business class seat for long-haul flights, which offers a 180-degree full flat-bed seat that combines comfort with the possibility of a high density cabin.
AIM Aviation unveiled a concept interior which introduced a host of new designs, layouts and materials for cabin interiors; leather manufacturer Pittards signed a global distribution agreement with Leki Aviation; and Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems showcased its EMPOWER High Power USB In-Seat Power system.
Meanwhile KYDEX announced the release of a new addition to its product line of thermoplastics for aviation interiors and first-time exhibitor Dräxlmaier Aviation introduced a host of innovations including: the Dräxlmaier Enclosure Concept; a refurbished seating design that includes backlit leather with a diamond effect for company logos and emblems; new natural fibre design surfaces; developments in leather processing; and privacy illumination concepts.
"The wealth of innovation delivered on the show floor this year, in conjunction with the number of commercial agreements secured, is very impressive", said Event Director Katie Murphy. "Given the success of our exhibitors at this year's show, it is no wonder that Aircraft Interiors Expo continues to grow every year; it clearly provides a unique environment in which to network with key stakeholders from across the aircraft interior supply chain".
The success of this year's exhibition was foreshadowed by a vibrant and engaging conference - attended by over 400 delegates comprised of senior representatives of major airlines, air framers and cabin interiors suppliers - which took place on 7 April at the CCH - Congress Centre Hamburg.
Building on the success of previous years, the Passenger Experience Conference focused on topical issues such as making the cabin space smarter and protecting the brand. A key theme which emerged from the morning's plenary sessions was the need for the industry to expand its existing thought envelope, in order to challenge preconceived constraints which currently limit the passenger experience. Mehmet B?y?kkaytan, Senior Vice President of Ground Operations at Turkish Airlines; Daniel Kerrison, Vice President of Inflight Product at flydubai; Michael Robinson, Chief Executive & Design Director at ED Design; and Devin Liddell, the Principal Brand Strategist at Teague all introduced a number of interesting suggestions to the debate which was followed by a question and answer session with the audience.
"We are thrilled with the number of visitors and delegates which attended this year's exhibition and conference", said Katie Murphy. "We are fully committed to building on Aircraft Interiors Expo's position as the global showcase for innovation and an influential forum for the discussion of key topical issues, hence our decision to increase the floor space yet again in 2015".
Next year's Aircraft Interiors Expo will take place from 14-16 April 2015, with the Passenger Experience Conference scheduled for 13 April 2015.
For more information please visit http://www.aircraftinteriorsexpo.com