Chris Bignell – What to expect at AIX 2023

The Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) opens its doors this week as airline professionals from across the globe gather in Hamburg, Germany to check out the latest innovations in cabin interiors and inflight entertainment. Our team will be on the ground surveying the very best the industry has to offer – from smart technology and sustainable materials to futuristic cabin concepts – and we asked them what they are most excited to see on display. 

Accessibility for all 

Responding to calls for improved accessibility in the cabin for wheelchair users, Delta Flight Products has teamed up with UK-based consortium Air 4 All to develop a cabin concept allowing wheelchair users to fly in their own chairs. 

Currently, powered wheelchair users must use an airline-provided wheelchair in airports and when boarding aircraft while their personal chair is placed in the cargo hold. This has led to many instances of carriers damaging and breaking the mobility devices. As such, the pair intend to shake up the status quo by enabling passengers with reduced mobility (PRM) to remain in their chairs for the entire journey.

The seat still needs to undergo rigorous testing and certification before making its way into the cabin, but a working prototype will be officially debuted at the expo.

Cleaning out the cabin 

Speaking of rigorous testing and certification, Pexco Aerospace is set to announce FAA approval for its AirShield technology. 

Retrofitted over the existing passenger air vents above every seat, AirShield works in harmony with existing HEPA filtration systems to create protective air barriers between and around eery passenger in the cabin, restricting unwanted germs and odours from entering their personal space. 

Studies have shown that AirShield reduces shared air by at least 76 percent (in a full narrowbody cabin with no facemasks) and increases the speed at which contaminated particles are expelled and replaced with freshly purified air by 230 percent. 

The team will also be displaying a prototype of its successor, AirShield 2.0, an integrated PSU solution designed specifically for new aircraft.

Looking ahead 

Last week, Airbus unveiled its new vision for how flying could look in 2035.

The aircraft manufacturer is working with ten major airlines, including Lufthansa Group, Delta, and eight technology partners, to draw up new concepts for future cabins, with the aim of ensuring cabins are less damaging to the environment while still delivering an improved passenger experience.

Cabin weight is perhaps the biggest contributor to carbon emissions, so creating lighter, bionic designs could help reduce weight by up to 40 percent. Asking passengers to pre-order their meals can also help lighten the load as the crew knows in advance what meals to pack. Several airlines have already implemented this but we could see widespread adoption in the near future.  

Airbus believes it could help reduce food waste and weight by up to 15 percent. The industry also predicts passengers will be able to receive transparent information about their individual journey’s carbon footprint and be given ways to help reduce their impact, such as carbon offsetting or meal choices. 

If you’re going to AIX then do get in touch, it would be great to meet up and discuss this often overlooked but vitally important segment which contributes so much to the global airline and travel market.