> posted by   on April 13th 2012

Aircraft Expo 2012: Trends

Last week, from March 27 to March 29, two big exhibitions were on view in the Hamburg Messe Germany : the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2012 and the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo 2012.

Despite the (already) famous crises, the exhibition counted more than 500 exhibitors from 30 countries. According to the organisation, this is a record surface of exhibition space taken by the industry.

As a frequent visitor of many global trade venues, I have to say that the Hamburg Messe venue is very chaotic, with no coach connection to the airport, a very bad signposting system and limited rest&meet corners. Anyway, the fair was very interesting and inspiring. It is a very difficult business with constant changes in kerosene prices, airport taxes, a long list of security requirements, low-budget airlines vs big multinational-airline brands, fluctuating ticket prices, etc. On the other hand, we have consumers who in the past 10 years have changed their travelling habits. Consumers are now using many small regional airports, flying to destinations that we have never heard of before, like Bergamo, Wroclaw, Girona or Billund. These consumers are expecting the same luxury and services offered by Pan Am in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Unfortunately, the times have changed and even a little cup of tea costs money. Also the space you claim in the aircraft has its value. There are new configurations like economy extra comfort –something between economy and business with more leg room and just a few more extra seat options. This has already been implemented by the KLM AirFrance Group.

Trends 2012:

At the fair, (almost) everything was about light materials, recycling, smart technical solutions and convenience for aircraft buyers as well for travellers.

1.Light materials – special fabrics, thin seats constructions,  food packaging or aircraft body laminates.



above: Gategroup

above: Solia

above: Lantal of Switzerland

above: Air France KLM

2. Recycling – floor covering, seat covers, packaging waste and even crew uniforms.



above: 2 x Texperium and KLM

above: Recover – carpet recycling programme


3. Smart technology – LED lighting for day/night control, on-board entertainment or WIFi and Internet connection and even Cockpit IPad’s.



above: 2 x B/E Aerospace

above: 3 x Diehl Aerosystems

4. Convenience and service – online services that allow passengers to check in, choose their favourite place, order flowers or other selected goods that will be delivered on board, individual light control and seat comfort.



above: 3 x KLM

above: 2 x Lufthansa

above: 2 x Frederique’s Choice


The overall consumer expectations in the future lie, in particular, in terms of design, technology and excellent customer service.


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