The Crystal Cabin Award, an internationally respected innovation awards scheme for the aviation industry, has launched two special categories for aircraft cabin and on-board products that address the travel challenges of the pandemic. 10 finalists are competing for the trophies, with the winners to be announced on 15 September during Aircraft Interiors Expo Virtual.
The first new category, ‘Clean & Safe Air Travel’ recognises innovations for the aircraft cabin in the areas of health, hygiene, safety and cleanliness. The second category, the ‘Judges’ Choice Award’, is for innovations that would otherwise have been submitted in one of the eight regular categories.
Feeling safe in flight
The final shortlist for the ‘Clean & Safe Air Travel’ category is made up of ideas to help passengers feel reassured of hygiene in the cabin. Touchless technologies in the cabin, which have been around for years but have only recently received major attention due to SARS-CoV-2, are a big focus in the final. For example, US-based Rosen Aviation has developed the Holographic Controller so that even cabin crew members don’t have to touch surfaces. With this futuristic control panel, functions in the galley, for example, can be activated and operated using infra-red and motion sensors, eliminating the need for buttons.
Safran Cabin is competing with the Beacon Clean Lavatory, a concept for the aircraft toilet with antimicrobial surfaces and contactless features. Collins Aerospace, a competitor of Safran – in business and in the Crystal Cabin Awards – is in the finals with Lilac-UV, an ultraviolet (UV) disinfection lamp fitted above passenger seats, which both cabin crew and passengers can activate to clean surfaces during a flight.
MGR Foamtex is competing with an invisible protective shield, designed to enhance the hygiene of seat fabrics. Generally, only superficial cleaning is possible between flights, but the MGRSafeWall anti-microbial protection system is claimed to reduce the SARS-CoV-2 virus load on hard or soft surfaces by 88% within just 15 minutes, and up to 99.9% within two hours.
Likewise, CleanAir from finalist Villinger GmbH also promises to neutralise germs and viruses. This air filter makes use of thousands of ionising micro-electrodes, which the company says can absorb particles substantially smaller than what is required by the current HEPA standard. Furthermore, the filter does not create ozone or nitric oxide as by-products.
Judges’ Choice Award
The second special category, the ‘Judges’ Choice Award’, honours entries that particularly impressed the 28-strong international jury in 2021. Toyota Boshoku has two designs in the final, both intended to upgrade the economy class travel experience. The Cloud Capsule Concept (pictured above) could offer economy passengers the option of both a seat and access to a comfortable bunk bed berth above. The Japanese company’s second entry, the Positively Economy concept, delivers three economy classes in one: an innovative eco-seat at the window, a personalised premium economy class, and ‘premium plus’ seating in the centre, with more space and privacy.
Safran Seats (in cooperation with Universal Movement) is in contention with the foldable Interspace wings, which can be retrofitted to economy and domestic business class seats. The wings fold out of the backrest when required, providing both head support and a protective screen between adjacent seats.
Rosen Aviation also made it into the top five of this category. The Maverick Project is a private jet cabin design full of digital highlights and intuitive control panels and applications which can learn from passenger behaviour, developed in cooperation with SKY Style and KIPCreating.
Austria’s FACC AG and its cooperation partners FH Joanneum, Netwiss, Raltec research group, Rodlauer Consulting, TU Vienna, FFG, and BMVIT are also working to make an aircraft cabin design that is more accessible to everyone. On short-haul and medium-haul single-aisle aircraft, the space for lavatories is limited by the airlines’ need to maximise seating capacity. The LAV4ALL promises 100% disabled-accessible aircraft lavatories, which can be retrofitted in narrow-bodies such as the Airbus A320, or in wide-bodied jets such as a Boeing Dreamliner.
Just as for the main Crystal Cabin Award categories earlier this year, the Crystal Cabin Award special category finalists will present their entries to the international judging panel in a virtual selection meeting. When voting is complete, the trophies for the ‘Clean and Safe Air Travel’ and ‘Judges’ Choice Award’ categories will be presented during the Aircraft Interiors Expo Virtual event on 15 September 2021.