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Passenger Experience Innovation and the Crystal Cabin Awards

As the Crystal Cabin Awards, the “Oscars of aircraft cabin innovations,” gets ready to celebrate its tenth year, it has gained its first official airline sponsor: Emirates Airlines.

The Crystal Cabin Award Association is once again calling for submissions for the most recognized and respected international prize in aircraft interior design and technology.

As in prior years, the panel of judges will seek out the most innovative ideas and products to contribute to a better flying experience for passengers.  Entries will be accepted on the Crystal Cabin Award’s website from now through 4 November 2015, and the winners will be announced, as they have been from the beginning, during the Aircraft Interiors Expo (5 – 7 April 2016) in Hamburg.

The 24 industry expert members of the jury will evaluate the merit of submissions individually, considering their level of innovation, the potential to improve the in-flight experience, and the concept’s commercial viability.

This past year’s winners included established industry companies, such as B/E Aerospace, ViaSat, Embraer, and Etihad Airways, but the awards also recognize young independent innovators to encourage and promote an interest in aviation and to bring a fresh perspective on the possibilities still available to the industry to revolutionize life in the clouds.

“In the ten years of its existence, the Crystal Cabin Award has become an international heavyweight. Its visibility reaches well beyond the industry’s borders and it plays a substantial role in defining trends and innovations on board aircraft. This success story would never have been possible were it not for the outstanding voluntary commitment, year on year, of our Judging Panel members from all over the world and the Hamburg Aviation team,” says Dr Holger Friehmelt, Managing Director of AAT Composites in Cape Town and a CCA juror from the beginning.

Crystal Cabin Awards categories

This year, the categories have been refined to sharpen the focus in these fields. Now in its jubilee year, The Crystal Cabin Award has an eighth category: “Cabin Concepts,” allowing room for more blue-sky thinking from the industry. The organization attributes its decision to add a new category to the rapid expansion of the global market for aircraft cabin products.

The Crystal Cabin Award is followed closely by the aviation industry and has been for many years. But just being shortlisted is enough for many companies and products to garner attention from media worldwide.

Those chosen as the three finalists for each category by the Judging Panel get a chance to present their concept to industry leaders in person at a Final Viewing.

Crystal Cabin Awards are then presented at a gala dinner as part of the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.

The Crystal Cabin Award categories follow:

Cabin Concepts

This new category is provided for full cabin concepts already existing or at a market-ready stage. The Cabin Concepts category is tailored for airlines, manufacturers, and design companies.

Cabin Systems

The Cabin Systems category comprises all innovative products that will bring airlines a major benefit in operations and efficiency. Such products could include galleys, lavatories, trolleys, air conditioning systems, and seat concepts, focusing on operating efficiency (e.g., lightweight structures, easy installation, better use of cabin space, etc.)

Electronic Systems

The Electronic Systems category caters to the fastest-growing product range in the aviation industry, including in-flight entertainment, in-flight connectivity, and communications solutions.

Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment

This category combines different classes of innovations. An entry for this category must either reduce negative effects on the environment or minimize health & safety hazards and security problems for passengers, staff, or live cargo.

Material & Components

In this category, the CCA jury is looking for new materials or new material applications for cabin systems that cut production costs and maximize usability.

Passenger Comfort Hardware

Entries to this category must improve passenger comfort within the cabin, either for all passengers or for specific groups of passengers. The category includes all hardware directly noticeable for the passenger, including seats and seat-related products such as tray tables, partitions, lavatories, premium class and VIP products.


This category allows college and university students to present their visions for innovative products and concepts for aircraft interiors.

Visionary Concepts

Visionary Concepts can give us an impression of the aircraft cabins of tomorrow through technical concepts, ergonomic ideas, and aesthetic design. The category relates to engineering concepts and design studies that have not yet been implemented.

The Crystal Cabin Award organization has also taken its jubilee year for a refreshing makeover, with a new online presence just in time for the start of submissions, which features a more user-friendly and mobile-friendly design to its site.

And, for the first time, the Crystal Cabin Award has official backing from an airline.

The Crystal Cabin Award organization has announced that Emirates will support the industry’s “Oscars” as a Platinum Sponsor. This puts Emirates Airlines in a leadership role within the industry, encouraging creativity and innovation in design, engineering, and applied sciences. 

The Crystal Cabin Award is open to additional sponsors. Information on sponsorship opportunities is available from the organizers.



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