LONDON, October 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
This year's Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas played host to the continent's largest dedicated display of aircraft interior products and services, welcoming over 2,180 attendees (pre-audit figure) to Seattle from 1 - 3 October. The exhibition featured 125 exhibiting companies, representing 13 countries, across 37,000 sq ft of floor space. Following the event's success, Reed Exhibitions has confirmed that Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas will return to the Washington State Convention Center from 14-16 October 2014.
A busy exhibition floor hosted a range of first-time exhibitors and innovative technologies, whilst the Seating & IFE Integration Symposium proved a particular highlight. Over 265 delegates (pre-audited figure) attended the one-day Symposium, sponsored by Skypaxxx Interior Repairs, which focused on two key areas of cabin investment - seating and IFE/connectivity systems - exploring emerging trends and issues in four interactive sessions.
The international audience included senior representatives from all chief air framers alongside delegates from major airlines and cabin interior suppliers. Gary Weissel, Vice President co-Managing Officer Aviation & Aerospace Practice at ICF SH&E, provided an interesting opening address, which set the tone for an engaging symposium, focused upon 'Consumer trends: the impact of smart mobile technology'. He was followed by Jim Cangiano, Vice President Sales & Marketing at Recaro Aircraft Seating Americas, who discussed 'Evolving seat-centric technology'. The subsequent session addressed 'The evolution of the connected cabin' and was led by Kevin Callahan, Associate Technical Fellow at Systems Concept Center and inspired Alan Wan, Product Line Manager from Thales Avionics to discuss cost-savings in a presentation entitled, 'Saving time, saving money by working smarter'. The morning's final session took the form of a specialist panel which discussed the 'Business case for closer integration' and motivated a range of insightful questions from the audience.
Jamie Lutkus, Certification Manager at Armstrong Aerospace, addressed the audience in the afternoon's inaugural session entitled, 'Meeting the certification challenges' and specifically focused upon regulatory challenges facing electromagnetic interference, static testing, seat track loading, power harmonics, Head Injury Criteria (HIC) and flammability for seat and IFE integration.
A recurring theme which emerged from this session, and influenced the subsequent round-table discussion entitled 'Working through the integration issues' was that improved collaboration between respective seat and IFE OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) was essential to the successful completion of certification projects. In Mr Lutkus' opinion, the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) new policy of increased delegation implies that improved collaboration will progressively dominate future processes as the industry is increasingly entrusted to develop a reliable process.
The round-table discussion that followed was moderated by Gary Weissel and in addition to Jamie Lutkus, other panellists included: Zuzana Hrnkova, Head of Aircraft Interiors Marketing, Airbus; Sage Secilmis, Integration Manager for Electrical Engineering, Northwest Aerospace Technologies; and Alan Wan, Product Line Manager, Thales Avionics Inc.
The final session, combining the perspective of the airline, seating manufacturer and IFE manufacturer under the heading of 'Delivering innovation', featured a case study by Jason Johnson, Director, Technical Services and Engineering at Omni Air International entitled 'New models for delivering seat-integrated IFE and collaborative working practices - Omni Air International B777 IFE Integration case study'. This airline perspective and experience provided an overview of factors including the pitfalls for IFE selection, project managing IFE integration and establishing clear lines of responsibility across a multiple vendor project. Mr Johnson was joined on the podium by Rick Lockhart, President at Skypaxxx Interior Repairs who provided the seating manufacturer's perspective and Jared Siqueland, Programme Manager at Zodiac In-Flight Innovation who offered a view from the IFE manufacturer.
An important outcome of this engaging symposium was Reed Exhibitions' decision to confirm the American debut of the Passenger Experience Conference - which has run for the past two years in Hamburg - in Seattle next year. The conference will provide delegates with a more strategic overview of issues affecting the industry and will then break out into separate sessions drilling down into more specific topics, which will include IFE.
The attractions of the Symposium were rivalled by an eclectic mix of exhibitors on the show floor, where there was a strong presence from established regions (such as Europe and the USA) and emerging markets; such as China, Hong Kong and Mexico.
The Passenger Comfort Zone on the Airbus stand proved extremely popular with visitors; allowing them to test and feel the space of the Airbus economy class. "Passenger comfort has always been an important differentiator for the airline industry - especially on long-range routes - and in future, it will become a fundamental deciding factor driving passenger choice and business success," said Stefanie Von Linstow, Aircraft Interiors Marketing Manager at Airbus. "This is why Airbus has always championed passenger comfort with wider cross-sections for wider seats - especially in economy."
Meanwhile Diehl Aerosystems, one of this year's impressive complement of first-time exhibitors, showcased an innovative range of lighting, lining, lavatories and galleys, marketed to OEMs, airlines and other aircraft operators. One such advanced retrofit solution centred upon reallocating rear-cabin galley/lavatory position in single-aisle aircraft to enable airlines to add six more passengers.
Schott North America's shared stand with Lufthansa Technik showcased the key features, benefits and attributes of HelioJet; a jointly developed LED cabin lighting solution, which recently received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the A320 aircraft family and is currently used for continental flights in Airbus A319s. The product delivers a soothing white light, whilst providing significant maintenance cost reductions.
"We are delighted that HelioJet has already received an STC for the A320 and is being used on scheduled flights," said Dr. Armin Plichta, General Manager of Transportation at SCHOTT Lighting and Imaging. "The solution's expected operational life amounts to at least 50,000 hours. This represents an enormous gain in longevity over customary fluorescent lights, which only last around 1,000 hours."
The vibrant character of the exhibition floor was readily apparent at the event's Industry Networking Party, which played host to over 440 key stakeholders (pre-audit figures) from the industry, and provided a conducive atmosphere to create new business contacts and cement old relationships.
"We are delighted not only with the number of visitors that attended the expo but also the number of delegates who contributed to what was a highly successful and educational Seating & IFE Integration Symposium," said Katie Murphy, Event Director for Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas. "The significant numbers of international exhibitors and visitors have contributed immensely to the success of this year's event and I am already looking forward to Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas 2014."
SOURCE Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas 2013