A total of 3,016 attendees from 160 countries convened on 14-16 September for Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) and World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) Virtual. The event organiser revealed that over the three days, the platform facilitated 1,124 meetings.
Professionals from more than 148 airline, lessor and rail operating companies – including Qantas, Ryanair, Emirates, Lufthansa, LATAM, Ethiopian Airlines and American Airlines – joined the platform to meet with exhibitors and discover products and conference sessions.
A packed line-up featuring more than 100 industry experts provided 30 sessions of educational content across three conference streams. Visitors could tune into live and on-demand sessions, watching 1,931 hours of content over the course of the show.
The AIX Sessions included a discussion curated by Business Jet Interiors International on what the business aviation and commercial airline markets can learn from each other. Experts Tom Chatfield, CEO of Camber Aviation Management, Howard Guy, CEO of Design Q, and Andrew Muirhead, head of OEM and engineering services at Lufthansa Technik, joined moderator Izzy Kington, the magazine’s editor. Together they covered differences between the markets; innovations with cross-sector potential; the factors required to achieve a successful crossover; and the potential for a service level somewhere in-between the sectors.
Other AIX Sessions panels discussed the impact of the pandemic; the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion; and sustainability, and the role start-ups can play in helping the industry meet its targets.
At the Passenger Experience Conference, experts tackled topics including how to put the passenger at the heart of the journey in the digital age; collaborative cabin solutions; accessibility; the emergence of new cabins, new routes and even new airlines; and how the latest onboard service interiors solutions are addressing evolving passenger needs.
Meanwhile, Taste of Travel returned to give onboard services professionals fresh insights covering topics including sustainability trends; new catering concepts; food allergies and wellness; careers; and rebuilding passenger confidence.
Products and solutions
Bringing the show floor to life in a new digital format, the virtual events brought together more than 150 companies representing the full supply chain of cabin interior and onboard services, with more than 825 products on show. At AIX Virtual, this spanned a wide range of categories including IFEC hardware, connectivity and communications, new seating concepts and material and coating solutions. At WTCE Virtual, food and drink products, food service equipment, hygiene, packaging and onboard retail solutions were on display.
Crystal Cabin Awards
The Crystal Cabin Awards were also presented at AIX Virtual. The session opened with a keynote discussion looking at how air travel might evolve in the next few years and how the industry recovery might change cabin layouts. The panel was made up of experts from the judging panel including Ingo Wuggetzer, vice president of cabin marketing at Airbus, Bridget Sheriff, vice president of engineering and technology at Collins Aerospace, and Prof Peter Vink from the Delft University of Technology. They discussed major topics including sustainability, the future of premium economy and more.
The expert jury crowned Safran Cabin in the Clean & Safe Air Travel category. The Beacon Clean Lavatory concept combines dual-access sanitise and refresh facilities, with biocidal materials and technologies.
Meanwhile, Safran Seats won the Judges’ Choice award for its Interspace concept with Universal Movement. Interspace is dedicated to improving rest and sleep in business class and premium economy. ‘Comfort through flexibility’ is the motto behind the concept. There are padded wings the full length of the seat, which can be folded out of the backrest as needed and provide both headrest and privacy. The fact that this can be retrofitted made it a favourite with the jury.
“It’s been fantastic to bring the AIX and WTCE experience to screens around the world in 2021,” said Polly Magraw, event director at RX. “Over three packed days of networking and business meetings, industry professionals have been able to come together and share experiences, learnings, make valuable connections and hear from industry experts. Now more than ever, as the industry looks to recover, we can’t wait to return to Hamburg in 2022 to welcome and support our industry face to face.”
AIX and WTCE Virtual replaced the live editions, which did 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.