Dust settles on Inflight Middle East

As the month draws to a close, marketing specialist Ross McSweeny reflects on another successful Inflight Pavilion, Workshop and Awards event in Dubai.

This year we were celebrating our fifth collaboration with Aircraft Interiors Middle East, and it was without a doubt our most well-attended and well-received collaboration to date. We are most grateful to our expert workshop panellists, exhibitors and all our valued visitors for helping to make the event another great success.

The two-day Inflight Workshop saw another diverse programme of topical issues discussed in detail by airline strategists and leading IFEC professionals. Daniel Kerrison (flydubai) and Joe Leader (APEX) both attracted large audiences for their fascinating opening addresses, and we were delighted to be joined by so many accomplished panellists in the sessions that followed. All guests shared invaluable insight and expertise on the subjects in question. The satcoms session on the viability of hybrid antenna technology proved particularly popular, with not a spare seat in sight. The panel failed to agree on a firm conclusion to the Ka-/Ku-band debate, which will no doubt rage on for the foreseeable future. It is an issue that continues to challenge airline decision makers.

Inflight editor Alexander Preston will be analysing all the major talking points in the upcoming March/April issue of Inflight magazine. If you do not already subscribe to the publication, please click here to ensure you do not miss future editions.

With overall show attendance up by over 30% to 4,761 and a record number of delegates attending the Inflight Workshop, the two-day show had an extremely busy feel. Inflight exhibitors were quick to point to the quality of footfall, with several enjoying fruitful meetings with the region’s major and regional carriers. In fact, 22% of the Inflight event delegates were senior airline representatives. Many of these airlines were represented in the Inflight Middle East Awards ceremony, which brought the event to a close.

“With Dubai as the hub for the Middle East aviation business, the Inflight Middle East event at AIME positioned itself very well. You meet important airline representatives and decision makers from the region and have high quality meetings. KID, as an exhibitor and sponsor is pleased to see the show growing and proud to be a part of it.”

Maren Muente, marketing manager, KID-Systeme (2017 Inflight Pavilion exhibitor)  

Emirates claimed their second “Inflight airline of the year” title as the 2017 winners were revealed. The premise of the awards is to recognise major regional successes within the IFEC and cabin technology sectors. Each of the eight categories is judged by an independent panel of industry experts, who aim to reward outstanding product or service offerings over the past 12 months.

Emirates was awarded the prestigious “Airline of the year” title for its overall long-haul experience utilising the latest IFEC solutions to meet customer expectations. Etihad Airways (“Innovation in commercial airline cabins”), Qatar Airways (“Content innovation”), flydubai (“Interior retrofit project of the year”) and first-time winner Saudia Airlines (“Airline IFEC provider”) also walked away with a striking Inflight trophy.

“This award is a testament to our continued commitment to enhancing our passengers’ in-flight experience by providing them with the widest selection of high-quality on-board entertainment options. We are delighted to be honoured with this award for the second consecutive year.”

Salam Al Shawa, senior vice-president, marketing and corporate communications, Qatar Airways 

Judges credited Etihad with “raising the benchmark” for customised cabin interiors on their A380 and 787 Dreamliner fleets. Qatar Airways’ extensive ORYX ONE platform was once again recognised in the “Content innovation” category, having previously won the award in 2016. Saudia picked up the “Airline IFEC provider” trophy for its array of IFEC service innovations in conjunction with KID-Systeme. Judges praised the marked impact on passenger experience. In a new award category for 2017, “Interior retrofit project of the year”, flydubai saw off competition from Bluebox Aviation Systems after successfully installing two thirds of its fleet with Global Eagle’s in-flight connectivity service.

Bluebox was not to be denied, however, as its innovative “Bluebox Wow” walk-on wireless IFE solution won the competitive “Handheld and/or wireless IFE system” category. For the second year running, Zodiac Inflight Innovations’ RAVE system was deemed the best “Seat-centric IFE system”, narrowly edging out digEcor. Finally, Panasonic Avionics Corporation earned the “Connectivity provider” award for its market-leading global communications suite.

To view more photos from the event, please click here.

Congratulations to all the 2017 Inflight Middle East winners. The next regional instalment of the Inflight event series, Inflight Asia-Pacific, takes place on 1–2 November 2017 in Singapore, in association with MRO Asia-Pacific. We look forward to seeing many of you there.

“It is always a pleasure to participate in the Inflight Middle East event. Congratulations on a great couple of days. I look forward to joining you in Dubai again next year for what will no doubt be still bigger and better.”

Daniel Kerrison, vice-president in-flight product, flydubai

Winners by category

Inflight airline of the year:


Innovation in commercial airline cabins:

Etihad Airways

Handheld and/or wireless IFE system:

Bluebox Aviation Systems

Content innovation:

Qatar Airways

Airline IFEC provider:

Saudia Airlines (in conjunction with KID-Systeme)

Connectivity provider:

Panasonic Avionics Corporation

Seat-centric IFE system:

Zodiac Inflight Innovations

Interior retrofit project of the year:


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