Reed Exhibitions, the organiser of Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) has announced the first details of the airline buyers and exhibitors set to attend its AIX Virtual event. The event will take place online from 14-16 September 2021 as a replacement for the physical AIX event in Hamburg, postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The digital platform has been designed to enable aviation professionals to come together for three full days via the event portal, through which they can conduct 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. According to Reed, representatives from more than 60 airlines have expressed their interest in attending the virtual event to date, including Air France, Emirates, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and United Airlines.
What the airlines say:
Kevin Kleist, an emerging trends expert at Southwest Airlines said of the event, “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. 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.”
Rainer Kroepke, director of customer experience at Condor Flugdienst GmbH added, “A vital part of AIX is walking by the exhibitor stands and making discoveries you weren’t looking for. 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 virtual event will bring the AIX show floor to life online for the first time. Buyers from airlines will be able to meet with suppliers and discover the latest products and solutions, with product demonstrations offering insights into key benefits and functionality. Exhibitors already confirmed include Geven, MGR Foamtex, Inmarsat Global, Safran, Generation Global, and Sabeti Wain Aerospace.
Given the pandemic, it comes as no surprise that many exhibitors will be promoting hygiene-focused products and services. For example, Muirhead will showcase its new Active Hygiene Leather with antiviral properties. The self-disinfecting leather features 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 Muirhead’s new lightweight, full substance leather designed specifically for the aviation industry. Selected by Ryanair for its Boeing 737-800 and MAX fleet, this easy-clean leather is claimed to be 25% lighter than some standard leathers.
Another exhibitor, Adhetec, manufactures technical adhesive films for decorative and industrial applications in the cabin. The company will present its latest range of antiviral and antibacterial films, suitable for use on IFE screens, tray tables and other high-touch areas in the cabin.
Mankiewicz, a manufacturer of coating systems for cabin interiors, will be promoting products including Alexit FST PUReGuard, a long-lasting coating with antimicrobial additives that the company says is proven to deactivate coronaviruses and fulfils OEM requirements.
René Lang, executive managing director Aviation at Mankiewicz said, “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. 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 also present new products, concepts and further developments, including a new antiviral galley kit, a compact front-row monument, tray tables for business class, and various retrofit solutions. Meanwhile, International Water-Guard (IWG) will highlight how its Healthy Lav Touchless products offer a simple and effective way to increase lavatory hygiene.
In addition, Sekisui Kydex will display a range of new thermoplastic solutions that allow designers to expand the possibilities for cabin design, including 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 bacteria on Kydex thermoplastics, preventing stains and odours. The antimicrobial treatment is incorporated into the sheet, which helps keep the treated surface hygienic between cleanings.
Smart lighting solutions
Several exhibitors will be demonstrating the latest in cabin lighting innovations. For example, STG Aerospace will show its latest-generation saf-Tglo emergency floor path marking system, with a wide colour palette, and edge-to-edge colour, along with its photoluminescent signage, which can add to the emergency exit marking system when used as direction signs. The company will also demonstrate liTeMood, its LED plug-and-play main cabin lighting system, which is interchangeable with incumbent lighting systems.
Dr Sean O’Kell, business unit director for photoluminescent products at STG Aerospace said, “In a year that has been filled with uncertainty and turbulence, it is more critical now than ever that we continue to support our customers and the wider aerospace industry. Even though AIX is 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 also have two of its latest innovations on display at AIX Virtual: the Jade Reading Light and the flexible HelioCurve LED, both intended to help airlines differentiate their offer in the market and to help them create a unique experience for the passenger. Schott says that these customisable lighting products can be used to create a unique atmosphere and customer experience in the aircraft cabin, while synchronised cabin, seat and monument illumination programs can create fully integrated cabin lighting scenarios.
Philip Fischer, vice president of Schott Aviation said, “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 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. This virtual event is a first step in establishing some ‘normalcy’ in the industry and we are happy to support this with our participation.”
Digitisation is another theme of the event, and one which may play a critical role in supporting the aviation industry’s long-term recovery. Inmarsat Aviation will showcase its inflight connectivity solutions, including a brand-new platform that helps airlines to monetise their onboard wi-fi. Inmarsat will also participate, delving into the findings of a major upcoming global report into the impact of the pandemic on travel habits and passenger expectations.
Polly Magraw, Event Director at RX (Reed Exhibitions) said, “We’re excited to reconnect cabin interior and onboard services professionals at this critical time. The impressive list of names and companies that have already expressed their interest in attending, and which have 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 from 14-16 June 2022 at the Hamburg Messe. For more information on the Virtual events, visit https://www.aircraftinteriorsexpo.com/ and https://www.worldtravelcateringexpo.com/.