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Designers, Engineers: Get Your Thinking Caps On and Make Flying Better!

It’s that time of year when the Crystal Cabin Awards committee is eager to find the cabin innovations which will make flying more comfortable and more fun. If you’ve been playing around with a clever design concept, now is your best opportunity to share it for a chance to win aviation’s version of “the Oscars.”

A Crystal Cabin Award, created and presented in Hamburg, has become the most highly regarded honour in the industry.

A high-calibre jury made up of renowned academics, engineers, specialist journalists and airline and aircraft manufacturer representatives comes together under the slogan “Let your ideas take off” to recognise extraordinary cabin concepts and products.

The award, to date the only one of its kind, has been presented in association with the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg every year since 2007. The trophies have become a seal of quality, known and coveted around the world.

Last year, the award was more successful than ever before, with 78 submissions making the shortlist.

Winners in 2016 included cabin innovations and on-board products from major players like B/E Aerospace and Boeing, but also included newcomers such as the British aircraft seat startup, Rebel.Aero.

Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, which is a Crystal Cabin Awards sponsor, summarised the growing importance of the industry prize at the 10th anniversary awards dinner for the Crystal Cabin Award in April 2016:

“The Crystal Cabin Award is kind of a culmination of what defines the industry. It needed focus, it needed to bring all the entities together to a cohesive group where there would be a lot of cross-fertilisation of ideas. And when they started it ten years ago it was an interesting development, something that nobody else had done before. They made it to what it is today and we’ll go on for the next few years I hope.”

You can apply for a Crystal Cabin Award in one of eight categories:

Cabin Concepts
This category is provided for full cabin concepts that are already existent or at a market-ready stage. The Cabin Concepts category is tailored for airlines as well as 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, with a focus on operating efficiency (e.g. lightweight structures, easy installation, better use of cabin space etc.)

Electronic Systems
The Electronic Systems category caters for the fastest growing product range in the aviation industry and includes inflight entertainment as well as on-board 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 provides room for 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 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.

A detailed explanation of all categories as well as the Entry Form for the Crystal Cabin Award is available online. Submissions may be lodged until 4 November. 

In-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) is gaining more and more attention in the field as airlines look for ways to improve the travel experience while keeping to the design constraints of the cabin space available.

This includes innovations ranging from passenger screens to better in-flight Wi-Fi. As this area grows in importance, the space dedicated to IFEC at the Aircraft Interiors Expo continues to grow.

Global attention for the Crystal Cabin Award

The Crystal Cabin Award have gained international recognition, especially in 2016 as it celebrated its 10th anniversary. To date, more than 600 online publications in 50 nations have reported on the last year’s awards ceremony, and coverage begins even before the prizes are announced, during the short-list process.

A victory at the Crystal Cabin Award, presented each year at a gala dinner as part of the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, is recognised as mark of distinction in innovation and as an accolade from aviation community peers. The appeal here is not limited to newcomers in the annual University category. The victors in 2016 included Boeing, with a self-cleaning aircraft toilet; flexible folding Economy Class seats from Rebel.Aero; and the “Lifestyle Cabin” from Zodiac Aerospaces, which breaks out of the conventional cabin categories.

But the awards also encourage participation from independent designers who have come up with clever solutions to niggling problems.

Renowned industry award – renowned industry support

The Crystal Cabin Award is an independent platform which helps the industry promote and honour innovation in aviation around the world.

The Crystal Cabin Award is supported by the following sponsors and media partners: Airbus, Aircraft Cabin Management, Aircraft Interiors Expo (Reed Exhibitions), Aircraft Interiors International Magazine, Aircraft Interiors Middle East, APEX, B/E Aerospace, Bishop GmbH Aeronautical Engineers, Dabelstein & Passehl, DIEHL Aerosystems Holding, Emirates Airline, FERCHAU AVIATION Division, Flightchic, HAECO Cabin Solutions, Inflight Magazine, Jetliner Cabins, Lufthansa Technik AG, Panasonic, Reaktor.Aero, Runway Girl Network and SEKISUI SPI.

You too can become a supporter of the Crystal Cabin Award. Information on sponsorship opportunities and packages is available from Carmen Krause (

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