Connectivity, accessibility and sustainability will be among the topics up for discussion at this year’s CabinSpace Live when it returns to Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX). Running from 6-8 June 2023, the dedicated theatre will feature leading figures from the aircraft interiors industry discussing the cabin of tomorrow and beyond.
Enabling mile-high connectivity
Demand for mile-high connectivity has increased year-on-year, climbing the list of passenger expectations within the cabin. According to Inmarsat’s annual passenger survey report, 77% said that inflight Wi-Fi is important to them – an increase of 40% since 2018. For airlines, offering seamless connectivity has fast become an important part of their value proposition, with 82% of passengers confirming they would rebook with an airline that offered quality inflight Wi-Fi – rising to 92% for business travellers and 90% for parents with children aged under 18.
Helping attendees understand the complexities of connectivity onboard, this year’s CabinSpace Live programme will feature a number of invaluable sessions. Among the speakers confirmed this year, Daniel Welch, Senior Research Consultant at Valour Consulting, will lead a discussion on the technology behind the journey, and the key factors to achieve the ‘ultimate connection’ onboard. He will be joined by William Milroy, Chairman and CTO of ThinKom Solutions, and David Coiley, Regional Vice President (Asia Pacific), Inmarsat.
Exploring the wider implications of offering free connectivity and better in-seat power onboard, Corinne Streichert, Founder of IFECtiv, will challenge attendees to think about how connectivity enables the passenger experience.
The panel session will see industry leaders including Tal Kalderon, Head of Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity, EL AL Israel Airlines, Neale Faulkner, Regional Vice President, Inmarsat Aviation, and Mark Reed, Director of Business Development, North America, IFPL Group assess the benefits, helping attendees understand how they outweigh the associated costs.
Discussions on connectivity will set the scene for Freelance Aviation Journalist, Gordon Smith to lead a session on high-tech ancillaries, and how to tailor onboard retail to help airlines sell more. He will highlight how these solutions offer limitless revenue opportunities and explore the role of passenger engagement to make buying onboard more appealing and accessible for all.
Responding to passenger needs
Accessibility will be a headline topic at this year’s Passenger Experience Conference, which opens on 5 June, the day before AIX opens. Continuing the discussion in the CabinSpace Live theatre, Christopher Wood MBE, Founder of Flying Disabled, will explore the diversity of passenger needs, focusing on age, physical and behavioural conditions. He will be joined by Walt Fluharty, a board member for All Wheels Up, as they reflect on the pace of change and innovation, and how operators can meet both existing and emerging needs.
Embracing sustainability in the cabin
Another topic set to dominate discussions across the Passenger Experience Conference and CabinSpace Live Theatre will be sustainability. Satu Dahl, Editor of Inflight Magazine, will be among the speakers touching upon the role of sustainability in cabin design, specifically addressing aircraft seating. The session will consider sustainability as one of the key factors when choosing aircraft seating, along with comfort, safety, ergonomics and cost.
Bundesverband der Deutschen Luft- und Raumfahrtindustrie (BDLI) – the German Aerospace Industries Association will take to the stage to present its recent findings on the role of the cabin in sustainable aviation. Representing the voice of the German aerospace industry, the association will share insights on the path to climate-neutral flying, with exclusive extracts from its latest research.
Celebrating award-worthy innovations
Celebrating the only international awards for excellence in aircraft interior innovation, winners of all seven categories at this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards will present their winning concepts in the CabinSpace Live Theatre.
The winners, which will be announced at a gala dinner on the evening of 6 June, will present their concepts in person the day after the winners are announced, offering a deep dive into the motivation behind their product designs, and the innovation and ingenuity which helped them scoop one of the industry’s most prestigious awards.
Getting fleets back in service
Highlighting the changing landscape of retrofit programmes, and addressing if turnkey solutions are the answer, Ahmad Rajei, Sr. Director, Design, Engineering and Innovation at Etihad Airways Engineering, and Nina Schulz, Managing Director of the Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance, will reflect on how the retrofit market has changed since the pandemic.
Together they will examine the shift from fully integrated solutions to individualised purchasing strategies and what this means for the industry, as well as offering advice on how businesses can best adapt to this change.
Also joining the CabinSpace Live line-up, Holly Ballantine, Key Account Manager EMEA (Aerospace) at Cirium, will examine how post-pandemic traffic recovery is driving demand for new and reactivated passenger aircraft. Holly will be joined by Henk Ombelet, Head of Advisory Operations at Cirium, and Gary Weissel, Managing Officer of Tronos Aviation Consulting, who will deliver valuable market outlook presentations. Culminating in a panel discussion, the session will explore the challenges facing the sector, from retrofitting cabin equipment to ongoing supply chain constraints.
Polly Magraw, Event Director, of Aircraft Interiors Expo, commented:
“CabinSpace Live promises yet another year of insightful and timely discussions to help attendees elevate their business strategies. The speakers’ experience and expertise leave me with no doubt that every attendee will leave with a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.
From a wider market outlook to deep dives into sustainability, accessibility, and the role of connectivity, we look forward to welcoming the industry back to AIX to learn how to shape the future of the passenger experience.”
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