The Next Generation of cabin concepts for elderly passengers

Wintersemester 2011/12 

Executive Summary 


Airbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer whose customer focus, commercial know-how, technological leadership and manufacturing efficiency have propelled it to the forefront of the industry.  

Passenger comfort has always been a major consideration at Airbus in order to ensure the highest levels of comfort, services and efficiency and the best possible passenger experience. Not only are Airbus cabins innovative and attractive, they are continuously being improved to offer travelers the quietest, most comfortable and enjoyable journeys. Especially the needs of elderly people (e.g. poor visual, acoustic or motion abilities) are demanding and call for future concepts. Taking the trend of a continuously aging population into account (2030: 65+ >40% of total population worldwide expected), solutions are even more relevant. 

Project goal 

The challenge was to understand and develop innovative future cabinconcepts and functional models for elderly passengers with specific needs (e.g. poor visual, acoustic and motion abilities).  

Approach and methodology  

The project follows the Design Thinking method – a structured and versatile human-centered approach to generate innovative new product and service concepts up to new business models. Students worked in interdisciplinary teams from different disciplines (business, engineering, medicine, design, history).
The project was structured into two major phases: an (1) in-depth research phase followed by (2) a structured ideation, concept development and prototyping phase. 

Research Phase 

An analysis of market, needs and trends was conducted by means of secondary research, interviews (100 target group interviews, 20 expert interviews (e.g. docs-on-board, light security, training centers, safety operators)), observations (e.g. airport, mock-up center, workshop), and self testing. Out of the irst research 15 key insights were identiied.  

Ideation and concept development Phase  

Based on the indings of the irst phase solutions for the major key insights were to be found. Starting with an idea generation and collection phase, the ideas and concepts systematically were tested and challenged in an iterative process leading to a visualized and multiple-tested functional model or prototype. 


The inal concepts comprise solutions for improved mobility of (elderly and average) passengers concerning the seating area and individual storage room for personal belongings of passengers in the seating area. 

All solutions generated have been evaluated and tested by users and other stakeholders confronted with today’s solutions and its challenges.

If you are interested in more details concerning the inal concepts and prototypes, please contact the project partner directly.

Cooperation Partner

Student Team

  • Christof Brandtner
    Andreas Buranich
    Marcel Ertl
    Elias Ferihumer
    Marlene Hanke
    Andreas Hirt
    Daniela Leitgeb
    Markus Neubauer
    Felix Petzenhammer
    Kristoph Retezár
    Philip Marcus Schreiner
    Roman Schweiger
    Markus Wild