September 23 2019  |  Events

AIX brings industry to LA Expo

By Jane Hobson

Fifty-nine exhibiting companies presented innovative solutions for aircraft interiors and passenger experience, from air conditioning and seating configurations to materials and radical new interior concepts at the 2019 AIX Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center from September 10 to 12.

AIX Connect, the show’s new specialist buyer program, facilitated hundreds of meetings to introduce leading airline buyers – including Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa – to relevant exhibitors.

Meanwhile, leading suppliers demonstrated the best of aircraft interiors, including Italy-based bespoke seating designer and manufacturer Optimares who showcased its next-generation economy class seat platform. The seat model, rolling out on Qatar’s A321 line fleet by April 2020, gives passengers more recline space than traditional seats, without intruding on the passenger behind thanks to clever use of space and a mechanism that moves both the seat pan and the pivot center of the backrest.

Also on the show floor was Tapis Corporation, who demonstrated its Butterfly 2.0 seating concept. It features a forward-facing, non-angled layout based on a light-weight tubular structure. It reduces certification risks and is one of the lightest business-class flatbed suites in its class. The seat launched at AIX in Hamburg earlier this year.

And, Spirit Airlines debuted its Big Front Seats, manufactured by HAECO Group, and its economy-class seats, manufactured by Acro Aircraft Seating, which will begin roll-out in November 2019 on all new Spirit aircraft deliveries.

First-time exhibitor EarthBay demonstrated a concept for aircraft interiors that replaces the cargo door with a large window set, supported by metallic framing structure. The idea is positioned as a marketing asset for airlines to increase revenue opportunities.

On day one of the CabinSpace LIVE seminar, AIX consultant Vern Alg and a panel of experts – including Gary Weissel of Tronos Aviation Consulting, James Blackwell of RECARO Aircraft Seating and Pexco Aerospace’s Tim Garvin – discussed interior upgrades being driven by new aircraft models, premium cabin designs and cabin density modifications. They also revealed that IFEC and in-seat power upgrades, along with the growth of wide-body production is a continued focus for many airline operators.

Speaking in a session titled ‘Are you sitting comfortably?’, James Blackwell, EnCore’s Elijah Dobrusin, Tom Lipscomb of PriestmanGoode and James Barrett of Aerofoam Industries discussed comfort onboard. The panel stressed that airlines should not consider comfort in silos but address every aspect of the passenger journey and deliver consistency.

In a session called ‘Color speaks’, Karyn McAlphin of SEKISUI SPI shared how the power of color impacts a passenger’s perception of an airline. McAlphin revealed that first impressions can be established within just 90 seconds and that 62% to 90%of this is based on the colors used.

Examples including KLM and JetBlue’s use of blue tones to convey trust, integrity and calm; Virgin’s red and violet to demonstrate passion, excitement and luxury; Aer Lingus’ use of green to highlight harmony, balance and tap into the Emerald Isle and; Iceland Air’s LED mood-lighting system that displaying the northern lights throughout Hekla Aurora's main cabin.

Polly Magraw, Event Director, Aircraft Interiors Expo Los Angeles, said in a release from Aix: “As we now look ahead to AIX in Hamburg, we’re excited to welcome so many of our Los Angeles exhibitors to Europe as we once again bring together airlines and the supply chain to source the latest innovations, technologies and products for the cabin interiors, inflight entertainment and passenger comfort industries when we return in April.”