June 21 2022  |  People

Diehl Aviation chief speaks out on industry challenges

By Mary Jane Pittilla

Dr Klaus Richter, Interim CEO, Diehl Aviation

How fast will long-haul flights take to recover after the pandemic?

That’s a “real concern” for Dr Klaus Richter, Interim CEO of Diehl Aviation, a leading supplier of cabin interiors and aircraft systems.

“This is a big issue for our line fit business and for our industry,” he told PAX Tech magazine in an exclusive interview in Hamburg last week.

“Regional, domestic traffic is coming back, and flights in Europe have picked up, but long haul is at 50 percent capacity, long-range plane production has been down for two years during the pandemic and there are no signs of a quick ramp-up.”

Richter also expressed concern about when – and if – business travel will fully recover, given the improvement in today’s digital communication tools.

Opportunities still abound for Diehl, however, as the aviation industry seeks to become more environmentally friendly.

“Diehl can contribute to making planes more eco-efficient, including our grey water reuse system that we’re promoting here at AIX, which saves weight and fuel,” he said.

In a major announcement at this year’s AIX, Diehl will be marketing its touchless lavatory for retrofits and upgrades in collaboration with Airbus. Diehl will offer and market its touchless lavatory features through Airbus' sales channels as well as its own network.

This collaboration will achieve a significantly higher scope of sales for its latest touchless solutions, the German company said.

Airline customers can have their aircraft retrofitted with the complete lavatory, and also with individual features. A special conversion kit enables quick installation in all lavatories onboard all A320 family and A330ceo aircraft models.

Features of Diehl Aviation’s lavatory include touchless faucet, lid and waste flap

Along with its touchless features for the lavatory, Diehl Aviation is developing a complete product family with touchless functions that meet passengers' increased sense of hygiene and safety. All relevant functions from the waste flap and the water tap to the toilet lid and the toilet flush can now be operated touchless and completely seamlessly in the lavatory.

Diehl Aviation is developing other touchless functions to supplement the touchless portfolio. The Multi Motor Control Unit (MMCU), specially developed by the company usually controls the functions from a central location. It can be very easily installed with minor modifications in lavatories already in use.

Eco-friendly cabin initiatives

The Airbus announcement comes as Diehl showcased several sustainable innovations in Hamburg. They included a grey water reuse system for airlines that saves up to 250 kilograms of fresh water on a long-haul flight; a super-thin, weight-reducing 16G cabin partition; and a recyclable particle foam air outlet.

In its Imagine zone for potential future innovations, the company introduced a smart mirror that can display logos or messages to passengers inside a lavatory.

Also, in a further development, airlines could promote logos and/or seasonal themes, along with information such as ETAs and temperature, using high-definition displays/projections throughout the cabin.

New, larger overhead bins for the retrofit market were also on display at the company’s AIX booth.

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