Female CCA Host alongside an Award statue with more displayed on a screen beside her.

Winners announced for Crystal Cabin Awards honoring PaxEx innovation

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The Crystal Cabin Awards, hosted by Hamburg Aviation, is informally known as the “Oscars” of the aircraft interiors industry. Every year, the CCAs honor cabin innovations aimed at improving airline operations and the passenger experience (PaxEx).

The awards are usually distributed at a special gala event during the week of the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. Given the COVID-19 crisis, however, AIX 2020 was cancelled, and this year’s Expo was postponed from April until August 2021.

As such, the 14th Crystal Cabin Awards’ prize-giving ceremony was postponed until today, and took place via live stream from Hamburg on YouTube. Runway Girl Network, a media sponsor of the CCAs, live-tweeted the event.

Safran, which was catapulted into aircraft cabins with its 2018 purchase of interiors behemoth Zodiac Aerospace, took away no fewer than three awards today. The company’s Safran Seats division won the Passenger Comfort Hardware category for its Modulair S economy seat concept, which was developed in cooperation with French university ENSCI and features a tablet holder and a unique neck support.

Safran Cabin won the Cabin Systems category for SOPHY, a tiny module that is integrated into catering trolleys to provide the operator with information on the entire journey of the equipment, from maintenance and cleaning to loads. This smart trolley solution has already been tested on board the Boeing ecoDemonstrator.

Safran Passenger Solutions, meanwhile, won the InFlight Entertainment and Connectivity category for its RAVE Bluetooth system, which allows passengers to pair their wireless headphones with in-seat IFE. Runway Girl Network contributor Jason Rabinowitz got up close and personal with this solution in 2019, and raved about it.

Winning the CCA for the Cabin Concepts category was Alice, the first purely electric commuter jet from Israeli company Eviation Aircraft, and its cabin design partner Almadesign of Portugal. The 9-passenger Alice features an innovative cabin concept with a fishbone seating layout that sees seats angled towards the large cabin windows for maximum viewing pleasure. (Alice features a carbon fibre composite fuselage manufactured by Multiplast/Carboman Group, which is credited with providing the image below.)

The CCA for Visionary Concepts was awarded to Airbus for its Airspace Cabin Vision 2030, which envisages flexible seating and lounge configurations in the future. The concept is an extension of the airframer’s popular Airspace cabin, which is rolling out on Airbus aircraft around the world.

The teaming of e₂ip technologies and the National Research Council of Canada won a CCA in the Material and Components category for their In-Mold Electronics (IME) solution, a surface-printed electrical circuitry that saves on complex, heavy cabin electronics. The IME control can take on a range of functions such as positioning the aircraft seat.

Diehl Aviation took first place in the Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment category for its Greywater Reuse Unit, which makes it possible to re-use water from the handbasin to flush the lavatory, rather than tipping precious drinking water down the drain. For a Boeing 787, this means savings of up to 550 tonnes of CO2 per year, according to Diehl.

In the University category, the University of Cincinnati won the day, seizing the coveted trophy for Coffee House Cabin, a long table for meetings, productive work and coffee breaks on board aircraft. Winner Alejandro Lozano Robledo developed the concept together with The Boeing Company and The Live Well Collaborative.

The CCAs’ international judging panel is made up of 27 individuals, including renowned academics, engineer representatives of aircraft manufacturers and airlines, and specialist trade journalists. Runway Girl Network founder and editor Mary Kirby is a member of the judging panel.

The judges evaluate the individual submissions and nominate three finalists per category. Winners are selected after they present their final pitches.


“With a broad spectrum of innovation and engagement with current challenges, the winners of the 14th Crystal Cabin Awards make it clear that the aviation industry is not standing still despite the current crisis,” says Hamburg Aviation in a statement.

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on global air travel, it says, there will be two new special categories for the CCAs: the Clean & Safe Air Travel category and the Judges’ Choice Award.

These special awards are scheduled for presentation at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg on 31 August.

See today’s complete awards ceremony below.

Featured image credited to Crystal Cabin Awards, Hamburg Aviation