Airbus’ Crystal Cabin Award-winning Mobile Vacuum Trash Compactor (left) and Retrolley (right). Image via Airbus

APEX Media: The “Crystal Cabin Award Winners: Where Are They Now?” series provides updates on past CCA-winning concepts. The 2018 Crystal Cabin Award application deadline is November 3.

Airbus is looking to improve in-flight cabin waste management with two of its Crystal Cabin Award (CCA)-winning concepts. The Mobile Vacuum Trash Compactor (MVTC) was developed with the Hamburg University of Applied Science (HAW) and placed first in the “University” category in 2015, while the Retrolley, which was developed with 3D Systems, won this year’s “Greener Cabin” category. Since receiving the accolades, Airbus has continued development of the MVTC and Retrolley using internal innovation resources, like Airbus Bizlab, and shown the concepts to more than 20 airlines.

“The CCA demonstrates that we strive with our partners to continuously innovate for our customers and passengers worldwide.” – Charles Champion, executive VP Engineering, Airbus

The submission phase for the 2018 Crystal Cabin Award, which recognizes the most significant innovations in aircraft interiors, onboard technology, passenger comfort, efficiency, safety and design, is currently active. Candidates may enter by filling out an application form by November 3. The awards now include seven categories, including a new Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity category. Crystal Cabin Award winners will be announced at a ceremony held during Aircraft Interiors Expo, taking place from April 10 to 12 in Hamburg.

Axel Becker, Manager Trend Research at Airbus Cabin Marketing, gives APEX Media an update on Airbus’ MVTC and Retrolley:

Can you provide a description of  the winning concepts?

MVTC and Retrolley are two important concepts to reduce in-flight cabin waste challenges. Both concepts can be combined and customized in order to fulfill different airline needs.


The MVTC is an innovative trash compactor concept using the existing onboard vacuum source to compact the waste. The MVTC is non-electrical and can be integrated in every wet galley.


The Retrolley provides presorting capabilities. Furthermore, it has three customizable modules, one to stack plastic cups, one to collect liquids and one to crush and store aluminum cans. The Retrolley can be integrated in any galley without modifications and is a simple, non-electrical and lightweight design.

What makes these concepts unique?

Both concepts improve airline in-flight cabin waste management in order to provide more sustainable recycling processes and reduce weight and increase stowage capacity.

How have the concepts developed since winning the award? 

Airbus has further developed both concepts by using internal innovation capabilities (e.g. Airbus Bizlab) and expertise. The concepts have been shown to more than 20 airlines in order to validate the technical approach and ensure first time right for entry into market. Business model decision and supplier selection is ongoing.

How do the concepts improve the airline passenger experience?

Cabin waste is getting more attention in media and in public discussions. Airlines can show passengers and the general public their efforts regarding improved recycling of cabin waste and more environmental friendly processes.

How has the Crystal Cabin Award contributed to the development of these concepts?

The CCA provided a lot of media attention and both airlines and cabin suppliers showed strong interest to take concrete steps for market realization.