There’s a hotel-like on-board experience for business class passengers, high-speed internet in the sky even for economy passengers and heated stone flooring for a private jet. Whatever price category you travel in, the leading trade show, Aircraft Interiors Expo, taking place for the 16th time at Hamburg’s Messehallen trade fair from 4 to 6 April, 2017, will reveal the trends that you will soon be experiencing on board.
Aircraft manufacturers, suppliers, airline managers and travel journalists from all over the world are attending the show, which has grown to be one of the biggest occasions in the international aviation industry, with numerous parallel events taking place. Traditionally, on the first evening, the prestigious Crystal Cabin Award, initiated by Hamburg Aviation, is presented, honouring the best innovations of the past year. And for the opening of this year’s expo, Latvian airline AirBaltic is sending its new airborne flagship, the Bombardier CS300, on an exclusive trip to Hamburg.
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The Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) is the global aviation industry’s go-to gathering for trends in passenger experience. From integrated cabin concepts with jetlag-reducing lighting to individual aircraft windows that are also touchscreen monitors, the almost 600 exhibitors from more than 30 nations cover every segment of the aircraft cabin. And thanks to the booming in-flight entertainment and connectivity segment, the show has once again grown by ten percent, taking in more than 25,000 m² for the first time. Taking place in parallel with the cabin show are the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) and, on Monday 3 April, the Passenger Experience Conference, where high-ranking branch representatives deliver expert addresses and take part in panel discussions. Altogether, more than 20,000 industry visitors are expected in Hamburg for the week.
Hamburg metro region is the world’s largest competency centre for aircraft cabins
Outside the trade fair, too the aircraft cabin segment is a core Hamburg competence: big names like Airbus and Lufthansa Technik have concentrated their worldwide development activities in this area here on the banks of the Elbe, and they are exhibiting at “AIX”. More than 10,000 specialists are employed by other local aviation industry companies that are displaying their innovations at the Aircraft Interiors Expo. The spectrum ranges from major suppliers such as Diehl to serivce providers like Altran and the dozens of SMEs represented by the suppliers association Hanse-Aerospace. The association’s Hanse Pavilion in Hall B6 is the largest booth at the event with more than 90 exhibitors and an area exceeding 2,000 m².
The Hanse Pavilion is also home to Hamburg Aviation (6B90B) and, directly adjacent, the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research – the world’s largest cabin research facility, which opened in the borough of Finkenwerder in 2016. Hamburg’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Senator Frank Horch, will visit the expo on Wednesday 5 April between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., meeting exhibitors and finding out for himself what innovations Hamburg has to offer.
AirBaltic’s new Bombardier CS300 “opens” Hamburg trade fair
The international significance of Aircraft Interiors Expo can even be seen on the apron of Hamburg Airport: for the first time, an airline is changing aircraft to coincide with the opening of the Expo. Latvian flag-carrier AirBaltic, connecting the Hanseatic cities of Hamburg and Riga twice weekly since the timetable change, is sending the new Bombardier CS300 on its morning flight to Hamburg on 4 April instead of the normal Dash 8-Q400. AirBaltic is the world’s first customer for the long version of this Canadian aircraft. The short and medium-haul jet, developed with a particular focus on the on-board passenger experience, was first delivered in 2016 only.
Crystal Cabin Award: Presentation of world-famous industry prize
The cabin concept of the new Bombardier C Series is amongst the finalists at this year’s globally respected Crystal Cabin Award, battling it out against big-name US challengers from United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. The innovation prize, initiated by the cluster Hamburg Aviation, is the industry’s most important award, and will be presented for the eleventh time in 2017.
Just who amongst the 21 finalists has managed to convince the international expert judging panel and can take one of the seven trophies home will be decided and revealed on the evening of Tuesday, 4 April, at a formal ceremony in the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski on the banks of the Alster. An overview of the finalists can be seen throughout the Aircraft Interiors Expo in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery in Hall B3 Upper
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