Crystal Cabin Awards 2023: the winners


The Crystal Cabin Awards Association has awarded this year’s trophies for innovation in cabin technology and passenger experience. The winners were announced at a gala dinner on 6 June 2023 in Hamburg, Germany. A jury of 28 industry experts selected seven products from a highly varied field of nearly 80 entries.

“This year’s submissions included many outstanding innovations that set new standards for the passenger experience,” said Lukas Kaestner, president of the Crystal Cabin Awards Association. “It’s especially exciting that some of these stunning products will be flying very soon, while others offer a more tentative vision of air travel in the future. It’s been amazing to see the passion and commitment of the industry to offer a new level of service for passengers, crews and airlines. The award has again shown its potential as a strong indicator of both technology trends and emerging passenger needs, cementing its valuable function in the wider aviation industry. We’re already looking forward to hosting the event in Hamburg again next year.”

For the 2023 edition, a new trophy was manufactured by Fraunhofer IPT using recycled materials. The polymer-based processes and materials used to make the award will soon be used for a new generation of cabin components, designed to help reduce emissions.

The awards were handed out in seven categories.

Winner, Cabin Concepts: Air New Zealand, Skynest

With its winning entry, Skynest, Air New Zealand provides a new option for economy passengers: lie-in bunks for up to four hours of rest and relaxation for the airline’s longest flights. Each pod includes a full-size pillow, sheets and blanket; ear plugs; a separate reading light; personal device USB outlet; ventilation outlet; and lighting designed for rest. The Skynest option will be available from 2024 on Air New Zealand’s ultra-long-haul routes to North America, including Chicago and New York.

Winner, Cabin Systems, Materials & Components: Thales Avionics, Onboard Data Center

Thales Avionics’ winning entry, Onboard Data Center (ODC) is an IT architecture for commercial passenger aircraft that uses a system of ‘blades’ sharing storage and computing capabilities. Thales says ODC uses web-based technologies in the air that are already in widespread use on the ground, offering up to 10 times the capacity of existing IFE servers. The modularity of ODC also helped Thales Avionics clinch the title; the ability to swap out blades in the future and so make the system upgradeable was seen as a potentially valuable asset.

Winner, Health & Safety: Teledyne Controls, ACES

Teledyne Systems secured the 2023 award with ACES, a cabin air quality monitoring system. ACES monitors several parameters in real-time and relays the data directly to ground stations. The system uses laboratory-standard sensors to check airborne particulates as well as gasses such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone, as well as volatile organic compounds. ACES is also designed to reduce airline maintenance costs and aircraft downtime by allowing operators to validate repairs onboard with no additional sensor systems required.

Winner, Passenger Comfort: Collins Aerospace, Intelisence

Collins Aerospace’s Intelisence is designed to capitalise on developments in AI to leverage data gleaned from cameras and sensors to predict passengers’ ideal travel experience. Anticipating the needs of the customer before they reach for the call button could let airlines provide a more seamless service. Yet the data generated could also allow operators to plan resources more effectively, reducing waste and increasing efficiency. At the same time, data about passenger needs is collated and presented to cabin crew in a way intended to reduce workload.

Winner, IFEC & Digital Services: AirFi in cooperation with Iridium, LEO Connectivity Solution

Connectivity was a key trend in submissions in 2023, reflecting both heightened passenger expectations of internet services in the air and the determination of the industry to offer a new connectivity experience closer to services on the ground. The LEO Connectivity Solution by AirFi and its cooperation partner Iridium picked up the IFEC & Digital Services award. Invisible to the passenger, the LEO Connectivity Solution connects to the Iridium Certus system using a pen-sized antenna housed in the window frame. The system offers added connectivity for both passengers and crew; travellers can chat with family, friends and co-workers on WhatsApp and iMessage, while the crew can use the system to access ACARS transmissions or validate credit card payments.

Winner, Sustainable Cabin: Lantal Textiles, Deep Dyed Carpet

The Sustainable Cabin category was introduced in 2022. This year, the award goes to Deep Dyed Carpet by Lantal Textiles. The winning entry is designed to improve the ecological footprint of aircraft cabins in multiple ways, saving 60% of water and 80% of waste during production, and also through aircraft weight and thus CO2 emissions. At the same time, the lightweight carpet is visually customisable to the customer’s needs. To achieve this, Lantal Textiles devised a new digital deep dyeing technology for carpets, an advance rewarded by the jury with the Crystal Cabin Award 2023.

Winner, University: Technical University of Delft, Lightweight Aircraft Seating

The University category is intended to offer students a forum for imaginative clean-sheet designs. This year the honour is awarded to a team from the Technical University of Delft for Lightweight Aircraft Seating. 3D-printed using sustainable fibres, this lightweight seat cushion is designed to reduce the amount of material needed while supporting the passenger’s body in an optimal way and at the same time reducing the weight of each seat and the aircraft overall.

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About Author


Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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