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Going for growth

Now in its 18th year, the Aircraft Interiors Expo is a must-attend event for airlines and suppliers across the aviation industry, says Polly Magraw, Exhibition Manager

From 4-6 April 2017 the Hamburg Messe will welcome over 500 showcasing companies. Among them are 55 new exhibitors, many of which will be in the IFEC Zone, the world’s largest event dedicated to inflight entertainment and connectivity, as well as content and service providers. From Otonomy Aviation and Philotech to LiteAir Aviation Products, these companies will offer visitors to the expo the opportunity to test the latest inflight entertainment products.


The fantastic range of exhibitors showcasing at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) once again shows the strength of the global airline sector. In recent times, the IATA has reported that airline share prices have increased by almost 7% over the past year and that passenger traffic grew by more than 6% in 2016. This, combined with the prediction that passenger numbers will double over the next 20 years, is expected to net the industry a healthy profit of almost $30 billion in 2017. 




The increasing success of the industry and an uptick in passenger numbers has brought with it greater demand for a more seamless journey from ground to air. Central to this is a demand to have the same level of connectivity in the air as on the ground. According to a recent IATA survey, this is particularly important for those aged under 24.  


The importance of connectivity is being recognised across the industry, with spending on IFEC expected to reach $6 billion by the end of the decade. 


Many manufacturers across the aircraft supply chain are developing products that incorporate IFEC further into the aircraft interior. For example, airlines are exploring the option of integrating inflight e-commerce platforms that offer passengers tickets and documents to extend their seamless travel experience. This might include arrivals lounge passes, city tours, taxi bookings and other destination-specific activities. 




In addition to connecting the aircraft cabin to improve passenger experience, the industry is continuing to surpass the expectations of passengers when it comes to comfort. This year’s Crystal Cabin Award shortlist includes such innovations as heated stone flooring, eight-seat onboard sofas and environmentally-friendly aircraft lavatories. 


With the aircraft interiors market currently valued at $7 billion and expected to grow 7% per year until the end of the decade, these innovations (and more) could be a lot closer to fruition than your average airline passenger might think.




Over the years, the AIX has firmly established itself as a must-attend event in the aircraft industry calendar and one that sets the agenda for the industry. The event itself is part of the wider Passenger Experience Week and follows the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) which takes place on 3 April, also at the Hamburg Messe. 


The programme for this year’s PEC promises to have a more diverse range of speakers than ever before, with the Airline Breakfast Forum being a new addition, and a keynote speech from Jeff James, Vice President and Manager at the Disney Institute. The Breakfast Forum is an opportunity for airline executives to network and debate the ever-evolving passenger experience with their peers in the industry.  


The following day will see the opening of the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo which is co-located with AIX at the Hamburg Messe. This event is the global leader in the travel catering, onboard retail and passenger comfort industries, and showcases the latest products and services in these sectors to an international audience of airline buyers and rail operators.  


Together, this trio of events creates a platform for the industry to discuss and determine the future of the aircraft cabin: from seats to inflight entertainment and connectivity, inflight hospitality to retail – fully encompassing the entire passenger experience.  

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