Welcome effect lighting in the A320 Airspace cabin. Image via Airbus

A mockup showing “welcome effect” lighting in the A320 Airspace cabin during nighttime. Image via Airbus

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of APEX EXPO this year, APEX Media is looking back at its members’ most significant achievements. Today, we explore how Airspace by Airbus pioneered a new approach to aircraft cabin design.

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In April 2014, Airbus unveiled a clean-sheet aircraft cabin design for the A350 XWB and opened a dedicated Customer Definition Centre (CDC) to give airlines a “one-stop-shop” where they could design and customize their A350 XWBs, all in one place.

Two years later, at Aircraft Interiors Expo in 2016, the OEM announced that the design features of the cabin – which won Airbus the 2016 “Best of the Best” Red Dot Award for Product Design – would be rolled out across the rest of the Airbus product line under a new brand, Airspace by Airbus.

Ingo Wuggetzer, VP Cabin Marketing at Airbus, explained, “The most exciting thing about Airspace for me personally is that this approach goes beyond the product – it’s the establishment of a cabin brand that is targeting not only the B2B market but also the B2C market, the passenger.”

The CDC has also been expanded to cater to the OEM’s A330 and A320 family customers. Wuggetzer said, “The CDC has transformed the industry. It was built on a clear process designed for the modular cabin platform of the A350, to be efficient in answering customer questions and to accelerate the definition phase tremendously, all while providing inspiration and creating unique airline cabins.”

The lavatory in the Airspace A320 cabin. Image via Airbus

The lavatory in the Airspace A320 cabin. Image via Airbus

The Airspace cabin is due to launch on board A320 family aircraft with JetBlue in 2020. Wuggetzer is confident the two parties are creating “a cabin product that will bring the wide-body passenger experience to A320 family aircraft.”

The A320 Airspace cabin will definitely feature the XL bins, which launched with American Airlines earlier this year, as well as a new sidewall panel design that delivers an extra inch of shoulder clearance and Airspace lavatories with mood lighting, aroma dispensers and soothing sounds.

It will also see the introduction of the “hero light” – a lighting strip that runs the length of the cabin ceiling. Designed to match the new Airspace XL bins, the “hero light” is fully customizable, offering branding opportunities that will be visible even when the overhead bin doors are open during turnarounds.

“Of course, there will be unique JetBlue-specific highlights – watch this space!” Wuggetzer said. “We have already more than 800 Airspace cabins on order for the A320 Family – a fantastic pre-entry into service endorsement.”

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