Crystal Cabin Awards announces special category winners

French cabin interiors specialist Safran has won over the international expert jury in both special categories of this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards, Clean and Safe Air Travel and the Judges’ Choice Award. The two special categories were developed by a task force of jury members in response to the global coronavirus pandemic and its impact on aviation worldwide.

Clean & Safe Air Travel is targeted at innovations for aircraft in the areas of health, hygiene, safety, and cleanliness. The Judges’ Choice Award has been designed for entries that would otherwise have been submitted in one of the eight regular categories, including Cabin Systems and IFE and Connectivity.

These two special categories were developed by a task force of the Crystal Cabin Award Association led by Hamburg Aviation, in collaboration with members of the expert jury, spread over four continents. For the first time, five finalists were shortlisted per category, rather than three.

Hygiene concepts for the aircraft cabin competed neck-and-neck in the Clean and Safe Air Travel category. In the end, Safran Cabin took the honours with its Beacon Clean Lavatory. This innovative bathroom concept represented the company’s response to increased passenger hygiene expectations, combining antibacterial surfaces with hands-free features.

Speaking from Hamburg’s ZAL Centre for Applied Aeronautical Research, Carsten Laufs, vice-president of product and innovation management at Diehl Aviation, congratulated the winners. Safran prevailed over the other four finalists in the Judges’ Choice Award category, too.

The Safran Seats team’s winning entry in cooperation with Universal Movement is called Interspace. Wing-like cushions can be retrofitted, folding out of the backrest of the aircraft seat to enhance not only comfort but also privacy, functioning as a partition between seats. The innovation is targeted primarily at short and medium-haul economy and business class flights. Jury chairwoman Melissa Raudebaugh, general manager of aircraft experience at Delta Airlines, presented the winning team with the snow-white Crystal Cabin Award trophy via video link.

At the end of March, the Crystal Cabin Awards postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic took place virtually, with Safran scooping three prizes; other winners included Airbus, Diehl Aviation, e2ip, Eviation with Almadesign and the University of Cincinnati.

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