Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) will take place online this year as AIX Virtual, from 14-16 September 2021. The organiser, Reed Exhibitions, recently announced the first details of the airline buyers and exhibitors set to attend.
The digital platform will enable aviation professionals from across the globe to come together for three full days to conduct targeted business meetings, discover the latest products and services from the supply chain of cabin interiors, and gain insights from sector experts via three streams of content.
Representatives from more than 60 airlines have already expressed their interest in attending the virtual event, including Air France, Emirates, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and United Airlines.
“The AIX gathering always brings us exposure to new and emerging technologies, products and solutions while providing an opportunity to meet with existing vendors and learn more about their products and innovations,” said Kevin Kleist, emerging trends at Southwest Airlines. “Now more than ever, even virtual discussions could bring immediate value to Southwest, as we look to solve new needs and identified use cases. We look forward to maintaining connections and establishing new ones, as we all hopefully move toward future in-person gatherings, like those we’ve valued in previous years.”
“A vital part of AIX is walking by the exhibitor stands and making discoveries you weren’t looking for,” said Rainer Kroepke, director of customer experience at Condor Flugdienst. “Whilst this aspect may be more difficult to transfer online, the upside of a virtual event is that you can better organise appointments meaning you can fit even more topics and discoveries in the same amount of time.”
The event will bring the show floor to life online for the first time. Buyers from the world’s major airlines will be able to meet with key suppliers and discover the latest products and solutions, with product demonstrations offering insights into the key benefits and functionality of services on show. Major exhibitors already confirmed include Geven, MGR Foamtex, Inmarsat Global, Safran and Sabeti Wain Aerospace.
Returning exhibitor Muirhead will showcase its new Muirhead Active Hygiene Leather, which offers built-in antiviral properties. The self-disinfecting leather incorporates built-in ViralOff technology, which Muirhead says is proven to eliminate 99% of bacteria and viruses within two hours, including SARS-CoV-2, H3N2 and H1N1, without compromising performance, appearance or sustainability. Attendees can also find out more about the company’s new lightweight leather, designed specifically for the aviation industry. Selected by Ryanair for its Boeing 737-800 and Max fleet, Muirhead says the easy-clean leather is 25% lighter than its standard counterpart.
Another exhibitor, Adhetec, manufactures technical adhesive films dedicated to decorative and industrial applications in the aerospace sector. It will present its range of antiviral and antibacterial films for IFE screens, tray tables and other high-touch areas in the cabin.
Meanwhile, Mankiewicz will highlight its paint products for cabin interiors, including Alexit FST PUReGuard. The coating was designed to be long-lasting and offer antimicrobial additives to deactivate a corona-typed virus while fulfilling the most stringent OEM requirements.
“For Mankiewicz, as the market leader in cabin interior coatings and a loyal exhibitor since the very beginning of AIX, it was a matter of course to also follow the digital path,” said René Lang, executive managing director, aviation, at Mankiewicz. “AIX has chosen a great way to provide a modern communication platform for all market participants to meet each other and discuss the latest developments for the cabin.”
Bucher will present new products, concepts and further developments including a new antiviral galley kit, a compact front-row monument, business-class tray tables and various retrofit solutions.
International Water-Guard will highlight how its Healthy Lav Touchless products offer ways of increasing onboard lavatory hygiene, enhancing passenger confidence and comfort.
In addition, Sekisui Kydex will display a range of new solutions that allow designers to expand the possibilities for cabin design. These include its Kydex Ion Technology, which was shortlisted in the Crystal Cabin Awards 2021. The technology is claimed to be 99% effective at inhibiting the growth of stain- and odour-causing bacteria on Kydex Thermoplastics. The antimicrobial treatment is incorporated into the sheet, helping keep the treated surface cleaner between cleanings.
Smart lighting solutions
There will also be several exhibitors demonstrating their latest cabin lighting innovations. STG Aerospace will bring its latest-generation saf-Tglo emergency floor path marking system, with a wide CMF palette and edge-to-edge colour, along with its photoluminescent signage, which can add to the emergency exit marking system when used for direction signs. The company will also demonstrate its liTeMood LED plug-and-play main cabin lighting system, which is fully interchangeable with incumbent lighting systems.
“In a year that has been filled with uncertainty and turbulence, it is critical now more than ever that we continue to support our customers and the wider aerospace industry,” said Dr Sean O’Kell, business unit director – photoluminescent, STG Aerospace. “Even though it’s not in person, we can’t wait to meet our customers and contacts again at the virtual event and get that customer interaction and direct feedback we have missed during the past year.”
Schott will display two of its latest innovations at AIX Virtual: the Jade Reading Light and the flexible HelioCurve LED. Schott says these customisable products create a unique atmosphere and customer experience in the cabin, and offer the latest technological features. The synchronisation of cabin, seat and monument illumination can enable fully integrated scenarios.
“As air travel has begun to pick up again in the past weeks, we look towards a positive future and are convinced that now, more so than ever, airlines have to continue to develop new cabin and seat concepts as well as retrofit solutions in order to bring their valued customers back into their aircraft,” said Philip Fischer, vice president at Schott Aviation. “This virtual event is a first step in establishing some ‘normalcy’ in the industry and we are happy to support this with our participation.”
Another theme at the event will be digitisation. Inmarsat Aviation will showcase its award-winning inflight connectivity solutions, including a new platform to help airlines monetise onboard wi-fi. Inmarsat will also delve into the findings of a major upcoming global report into the latest impacts of the pandemic on travel habits and passenger expectations.
Elsewhere, Generation Global, a leading upholstery and interiors supplier, will showcase its seat cover and seat cushion products and production capabilities.
“We’re excited to reconnect cabin interior and onboard services professionals at this critical time,” said Polly Magraw, event director at RX (Reed Exhibitions). “The impressive names and companies that have already expressed their interest in attending or booked stands at the virtual event is testament to the industry’s eagerness to move forward. AIX is renowned for being a hotbed of innovation and the place to do business, and this will be no different at AIX Virtual 2021.”
AIX and WTCE Virtual replace the live editions, which will not take place in 2021 due to the ongoing challenges and global restrictions on international travel. AIX and WTCE will return to Hamburg, Germany, on 14-16 June 2022 at the Hamburg Messe.