Ingo Wuggetzer, vice-president of cabin marketing at Airbus, talks trends and looks at how these will shape the future of the passenger experience

    At Airbus, we are constantly monitoring global trends, from general on-ground trends like our ageing society, to specific transportation trends for comfort and services and their evolution. It is a continuous effort to identify all the relevant trends for future aircraft cabins, to drive innovation and create solutions for our airline customers and passengers.

    We look at megatrends for the future, such as the mobile and loT (Internet of Things) revolution, right up to aviation trends like smart segmentation on board. Some of the key concepts we are currently evaluating are cabin flexibility, specifically for flexible seating and sleeping configuration; an inflight lounge with transformable modules; digitally enabled crew operations; automated personalised services; personalised passenger environment with augmented reality; passenger wellbeing and atmosphere with unique welcome and streamlined boarding; digital baggage management; surface lighting; and virtual outside view.

    Airspace Connected Experience

    In particular, let’s consider the digital revolution of the IoT, which already lets consumers control everything in their car and home at a touch of the fingertips; now Airbus is bringing such capabilities into the aircraft cabin – we call it the Airspace Connected Experience.

    The way passengers fly and the way airlines operate will change. It will create opportunities to deliver more personalised services and a more efficient, as well as a more sustainable, operation. We are developing a new IoT platform, linking in real-time interconnected core cabin components, including the galleys, meal trolleys, seats and overhead bins.

    The connected cabin ecosystem will deliver personalised services to passengers. You could order your meal at home or at the airport, and you will get what you want. At the moment, if you’re sitting in the last 10 rows, that doesn’t happen.

    If airlines knew what passengers ate during their last flight, what they bought in duty free and what movies they were watching, then they would be able to offer a tailor-made selection.

    Moreover, this would boost ancillary revenues by offering advertising and services that create value for passengers. At the same time, the IoT will bring efficiencies for the airline. For cabin crew, the data exchange throughout the cabin will make life easier as they can manage the full cabin from their tablet or smartphone. But it will also allow for new predictive maintenance methods and more efficient cabin management systems, as all the information can be uploaded to the Skywise cloud for trend analytics.

    Smart approaches

    Another megatrend influencing everyone’s life is the focus on sustainability. Despite the perception that air travel is a big contributor to polluting emissions, the aviation industry leads the way in environmental impact improvements. For example, in the past 50 years, we have achieved up to 75 per cent in noise reduction and reduced fuel burn and CO2 emissions by 80 per cent.

    For the cabin, we see weight reduction, recycling and avoiding waste as the biggest levers.

    Our Cabin Vision 2030, built with airlines, tech companies and start-ups, demonstrates smart approaches enabled by IoT technologies to tackle this. It includes personalised catering, so every passenger can book their meal, avoiding over-catering and waste.

    In our Airspace Vision 2030, created with a customer-centric approach, we have used these trends to develop a scenario of how the travel experience could look by that date. We’re taking the next steps towards a new personal travel experience that widens passenger horizons.