The Crystal Cabin Awards 2022 shortlist is revealed


Much like the wider aviation industry, the annual Crystal Cabin Awards scheme, the foremost international prize for innovation in the aircraft cabin, has had a challenging period over the past two years. However, human spirit perseveres, as does innovation, and the event is back to full strength for 2022, with an impressive shortlist of challengers, and an in-person prizegiving ceremony on 14th June in Hamburg.

The shortlist includes entries from a broad spectrum of designers, manufacturers, engineers, academia and visionaries, all with different ideas but the common goal of improving the future aircraft passenger experience. The shortlisted ideas are now being assessed by the international expert jury (including editor Adam Gavine), ahead of a final viewing when it will be decided who will raise the aviation industry’s most coveted trophies this year.

Efficient cabin spaces

The aircraft cabin is well known for being perhaps the most expensive real estate in the world, so aviation industry innovators are constantly seeking out new ways to exploit the limited space available. Unproductive space represents a very expensive missed opportunity, and especially post-pandemic, airlines need to be even more efficient with their cabin layouts.

This issue is addressed in various entries on the 2022 shortlist, including concepts like Elevate, an entry by Teague and Nordam, who have collaborated on a “floating furniture” strategy designed to bring widebody comfort to the single-aisle business class cabin: important given the growing focus on long-range narrowbodies.

Teague and Nordam’s Elevate design brings widebody business class comfort to the single-aisle cabin

Another entry has already been big news this year: AirLounge, Finnair’s new long-haul business class. The airline worked with Collins Aerospace, PriestmanGoode and Tangerine to produce a simple yet disruptive design that gives a cocoon-like experience without requiring features such as seat recline. You can read the full story behind AirLounge HERE.

AirLounge is a key component of Finnair’s revitalised long-haul experience

This year’s shortlist also sees multiple entries taking a clean-sheet approach to cabin accommodation. Many focus on foldable, reconfigurable elements that allow airlines and passengers alike to reconfigure their expectations of how aircraft cabins use the available space.

An example is an entry by student Jiayi Yu from the University of Reutlingen. The Shift Cabin Interior study allows seats to be configured in multiple positions for work or relaxation, both along the axis of the seat as well as to the side. The concept also offers airlines an enticing prospect: to fit more seats into the same business class cabin space, increasing revenue potential.

Jiayi Yu from the University of Reutlingen is competing in the University category with the Shift Cabin Interior study

Meanwhile, Mmillenniumm describes its AirSleeper aircraft seating concept as a seat architecture that leverages the available space and passenger ticket price in new ways. Each passenger is provided with a seat that can be folded into a flat bed, accompanied by multiple surfaces both at seat level and above passengers’ heads.

Mmillenniumm’s AirSleeper aircraft seating concept

Another entry takes some inspiration from traditional train compartment seating. NeXtGC by the German Aerospace Center gives the “group of 6” a surprising new twist. The designers created a modular concept that attaches two facing rows of three seats to the sidewall and the floor, as well as to a rail system in the ceiling area, freeing up the space usually reserved for overhead bins. Stowage is also provided below the seats for faster passenger in- and egress, while the option to turn the seating into a sleeping area adds a flexible component.

Safety first: and it’s not just Covid now

The cabin industry has long had an interest in hygiene, but the Covid-19 pandemic heightened concerns about airborne pathogens. Several manufacturers have been working on clever ideas to minimise the potential spread of Covid-19 in the aircraft cabin – or any other infectious disease for that matter. 

Teague again appears in the shortlist with AirShield, a design being brought to production by Pexco Aerospace. AirShield attaches to the existing PSU rail to direct airflow between passenger spaces, reducing the chance of catching an infection.

Teague’s AirShield design is unobtrusive as it attaches discreetly to existing cabin hardware

In a similar vein, Weigele Aerospace’s Vientum clean air system takes techniques proven to suppress the spread of pathogens on the ground in areas such as school classrooms, and applies them to the aircraft cabin space.

While Covid-19 has been such a big topic over the past two years, there are of course many other health and safety aspects to consider in the aircraft. For example, faulty lithium ion batteries, as found in digital devices, can be a danger in the cargo hold. In response Safran Cabin has developed the Fire Resistant Cargo Container, which can inhibit Category D fires for six hours. In the event of a container fire, that gives the flight crew valuable additional time to land safely.

One safety system on the shortlist has perhaps an unexpected benefit. Caeli Nova says that its Cordillera emergency oxygenation system could, if implemented globally, save 1.2m tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

Sustainability in focus 

Sustainability is one of the hottest topics today, both on the ground and in the sky, and a raft of entries for the 2022 Crystal Cabin Award are focused on making the passenger experience ‘greener’.

In the area of cabin materials, ELeather’s Essence solution recycles leather waste to produce its upholstery and save on raw materials, while Switzerland’s Lantal Textiles – in cooperation with Tenerías Omega and Olivenleder – has introduced a wet-green tanning process for its leather fabrics, using vegetable oils instead of chrome- and gasoline-based chemicals. Aircraft seat cushion maker Metzo, in cooperation with The Vita Group, has submitted a recycling system for used aircraft seat cushions.

Waste and weight reduction will continue to be an arena where industry development is at its most intense. Airbus Operations has engineered a technology-driven solution designed to tackle the problem of passenger food waste. Its AI-based Airspace Food Scanner captures data about passengers’ food consumption, producing valuable data for airlines to adapt their catering services to better match customer demand.

Recaro Aircraft Seating is competing with a modular, lightweight plug-in seat table system that is not only made from sustainable materials, but is lightweight reduction. Recaro says that if an airline switched to these tables on 50 aircraft, that could save 1,000 tons of CO₂ annually.

Flying Disabled’s Air4All design can advance accessibility for PRMs. The design was developed with PriestmanGoode and SWS Certification

Aircraft cabins: a digital space

In the information age, safety encompasses an increasingly wide cross-section of the air travel experience. Digital and physical security are two needs addressed by Gentex Corporation’s proposal for an iris biometric scanning system. Its engineers envisage an aircraft-wide system, for example authenticating crew when entering the cockpit, or implemented in a seatback device to personalise passengers’ media or shopping offerings. 

Airlines’ in-cabin digital offerings are also becoming a hotbed of innovation. The KrisShop on KrisWorld inflight shopping platform is a novel approach by Singapore Airlines, Airfree and Thales that shows that the future of passenger retail will go far beyond the usual well-thumbed seatback catalogue. Touted as the world’s first inflight eShopping experience on a seatback IFE system, KrisShop on KrisWorld lets passengers browse a digital catalogue, buy in real time using a credit card and arrange delivery, either somewhere along their travel route or back at home.

Meanwhile AerQ’s engineers have submitted Aerena, a platform to help airlines quickly and cheaply adapt onboard apps to personalise their customers’ digital experience, while reducing development costs.

Noise-cancelling headsets have proved popular with frequent flyers in recent years. ACM Aircraft Cabin Modification’s MYZONE is an idea to do away with headphones though, applying active noise cancellation (ANC) technology to the headrest and beyond. Compatible with any aviation seat, the designers say that the system can also use window panels and other cabin elements as a loudspeaker, attaining a sizeable 3dB reduction in aircraft noise.

How it works

The Crystal Cabin Award, an initiative of cluster Hamburg Aviation, has gathered entries across eight categories: Cabin Concepts, Cabin Systems, Health & Safety, IFEC & Digital Services, Material & Components, Passenger Comfort, Sustainable Cabin, and University.

For each category, the 28 expert members of the jury select three finalists, which will be announced at the beginning of May 2022. The finalists get to pitch their concepts to the jury in person at the world’s leading trade show for aircraft cabins, Aircraft Interiors Expo (14th – 16th June 2022 in Hamburg). The winners of the 2022 Crystal Cabin Award will be announced at a gala dinner in Hamburg on the evening of 14 June. The prize-giving ceremony will have a new home for 2022: the Altonaer Kaispeicher.

The full Crystal Cabin Award 2022 Shortlist

Entrant                                                                     Name of Entry

ACM Aircraft Cabin Modification           MyZone – Active Noise Cancelling System

Aero HygenX                                             The RAY Line of UV-C Disinfecting Solutions

AerQ                                                           Aerena – Accelerated App Integration

Aersolution Interior                                 e-LIFT – Next-Generation Aircraft Table Pedestal

Air Lab                                                       COVID Air Purification System

Airbus Corporate Jets,/Latecoere          ACJ Smart LiFi Monitor

Airbus Operations                                    Airspace Food Scanner – Sustainable catering

Airbus Operations / Recaro                    Flex OLED Kit

Anuvu /Southwest Airlines                     Dynamic Space

AVIC Cabin Systems                                 VantageDUO

Blue Sky Designers /Aero Technics,
Progressive Technology                          Axiom Aircraft Seating

Boeing EnCore Interiors                          Agile Galley System

Caeli Nova                                                 Cordillera passenger emergency oxygen system

Collins Aerospace /Finnair,
PriestmanGoode, Tangerine                  AirLounge

Collins Aerospace                                     Fusion AI

Collins Aerospace                                     SpaceChiller

Collins Aerospace                                     Hypergamut Light

Covarians                                                   Aerometrix

Diab /AkzoNobel, Rescoll, Roctool        100% thermoplastic and recyclable sandwich panel

Diehl Aviation                                           Smart Lock Door

Diehl Aviation                                           Particle Foam Air Outlets

ELeather                                                    Essence

Flying Disabled /PriestmanGoode,
SWS Certification                                     Air4All System

Gentex Corporation                                Biometric Authentication – Iris

German Aerospace Center                    NeXtGC

Geven /PriestmanGoode                        The Elemento, Materia and Forma seat range

i4A – Innovations for Aviation                 Smart Space 4 Passengers

IdeaNova Technologies                           Inplay Bash Is Social IFE

Inflight Dublin                                           Everhub iPad Solution

Inmarsat /Aegean Airlines,
Deutsche Telekom,
Display Interactive                                   Aegean Wi-Fi Onboard

Jamco Corporation /NTT sonority          Personalized Sound Zone

Kirtland, Ken                                              Portal – short-haul electric airline

Lantal Textiles /Teneras Omega,
Olivenleder                                               Sustainable leather with wet-green tanning

LiFE in the Air                                            LIFE IFE Solution

LIFT Aero Design                                       PARADYM Future Single Aisle Configuration Concept

Lufthansa Technik /Diehl Aerospace    Explorer VIP cabin concept

Lufthansa Technik                                    Voice Control

Lufthansa Technik                                    AeroFLAX

Lufthansa Technik                                    RGBW Channel Light

Lufthansa Technik                                    CabinSHINE

Metzo /The Vita Group                             Seat cushion recycling concept

Mmillenniumm Group                             AirSleeper

MobiSign                                                    MOJOBOXX

Pexco Aerospace /Teague                       AirShield

Recaro Aircraft Seating                            Table Goes Plug-in

Safran Cabin                                              Fire Resistant Cargo Container

Safran Cabin                                              The Cool Trolley Solution

Safran Passenger Innovations                RAVE Advertising Platform

Satterfield Aerospace                               Deployable Seat Bottom

Singapore Airlines                                     KrisShop on KrisWorld

STG Aerospace                                          saf-Tglo SSUL-X

Style and Design Group                           SWITCH

Teague & NORDAM                                  Elevate

Thales Avionics                                         Synthetic Cabin

Thales Avionics                                         Optiq, 4K QLED HDR IFE display

Thales Avionics                                         Pulse, power supply with dynamic power allocation

Thales Avionics                                         In Cabin Experience Enhancer

Unum Aircraft Seating /
Acumen Design Associates                     Unum One: a new approach to business seating

Virgin Atlantic /
Factorydesign, AIM Altitude                    The Booth

Weigele Aerospace                                   Vientum – Come in for some fresh air

Wichita State University                          Fly Your Wheels Suite

Yu, Jiayi                                                       Shift Cabin Interior

ZIM Aircraft Seating                                  ZIMprivacy


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About Author


Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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