THE FUTURE BEGINS HERE
W elcome to the 2020 Design Showcase edition of Aircraft Interiors
International, a special annual publication that brings together some
of the most exciting cabin design insights and projects that have
emerged over the past year, the latest materials and technology developments,
and new ideas that can advance the next generation of cabins.
It feels like we’re on the cusp of a big change in aviation. The increasing
range of single-aisle aircraft (with the A321XLR capable of some 4,700NM)
is enabling new long-haul route pairs between smaller airports, with
potentially attractive load factors on such routes. This capability, combined
with operational costs well below those of widebodies, is great for regional
airlines and LCCs looking to expand. However, an end-to-end journey on
an A321XLR could amount to nine hours, which raises cabin issues. There
are already some great narrow-body first and business class seating options
on the market, but add in premium inflight catering requirements, the
need for airline brand differentiation through features such as social zones
or self-service areas, the need for greater seat pitch in economy, and more
lavatory provision – including a push for PRM-friendly lavs – and the
prospect becomes a little more challenging.
Long-haul narrow-bodies are a fascinating development, and we asked
Counterpoint Market Intelligence to take a deep dive into the sector, its
economics, its challenges and its opportunities. The report’s findings are
fascinating, as you can see on p8.
Of course long-haul narrow-body aircraft are not an entirely new
proposition, with the B757 having flown transatlantic routes for around
20 years. However, the world is changing, demand for travel is accelerating
faster than the flygskam ‘flight shame’ movement is growing, passenger
tastes and expectations are evolving, and with a rethought inflight experience
and increasingly fuel-efficient aircraft, this new narrow-body proposition
is going to benefit a lot of flyers around the world, as well as airline profits.
Similarly, supersonic flight is nothing new, but it is something the world
has missed since Concorde ceased operations in 2003. With development
underway on supersonic aircraft from Aerion, Boom, Hermius and Spike
Aerospace, it looks like super-fast air travel could soon make a return.
Again, improved efficiency will make the new models more appealing and
socially acceptable, and changes in flyers’ expectations and advances in cabin
design and technology will mean big changes in the passenger experience.
Concorde’s cabins were less luxurious than some of today’s premium
economy cabins, though as a theatre of speed with luxury soft product
and service, they felt very special. The next generation of jets could make
the supersonic experience even more special, engaging passengers with
their incredible journey. See p52 for details of the Aerion cabin concept,
including an innovative and compelling window design.
More ideas for the future come from British Airways, which has
conducted a major survey to establish a baseline of today’s flyers’ tastes,
values and expectations before exploring what the passenger experience
could look like in the near and mid term, and even in a century (see p24).
The design houses, materials and technology developers that can
make all this happen are featured in this issue. The future is in
Adam Gavine, editor
ANNUAL SHOWCASE 2020 003
EDITOR Adam Gavine
SENIOR ART EDITOR Anna Davie
DEPUTY ART EDITOR Louise Green
DESIGNER Andy Bass
INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES Sally James
PRODUCTION Sejal Patel
CIRCULATION MANAGER Chris Jones
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Tom Stone
PUBLISHER Simon Hughes
COO Jon Benson
CEO Ben Allen
Member of the
Audit Bureau of
Average net circulation per issue
for the period January 1, 2018, to
December 31, 2018 was 14,141
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Cover image: British Airways