Etihad Airways and Diehl to jointly develop 3D-printed cabin plastic parts for aircraft


UAE-based Etihad Airways Engineering has entered a deal with Diehl Aerosystems to jointly design, manufacture and install a new 3D-printed cabin plastic component for one of its customers.

Under the deal, both companies will work together to develop and manufacture an inflight entertainment (IFE) cover plate that will be installed in economy seats on several aircraft of an undisclosed Middle Eastern airline.

Etihad Airways Engineering has already received an approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to design, certify, manufacture and fly 3D-printed aircraft cabin plastic components.

Etihad Airways Engineering CEO Jeff Wilkinson said: “Etihad Airways Engineering is leveraging its Part 21J Design Organisation approval by EASA, with Diehl contributing as a Part 21G Production Organisation, in this pilot project.

“Our partnership with Diehl will help us commercialise this technology and make it available to our customers around the world.”

The company further noted that 3D-printed parts provide a cost saving of around 20% to 30%. The components do not require tooling and help avoid any permanent modification to the seat.

Etihad and Diehl are also planning to create a range of products based on the experience gained from this project, which will be carried out on pilot basis.

“Our partnership with Diehl will help us commercialise this technology and make it available to our customers around the world.”

Etihad Airways, along with Boeing and other industry partners, is currently developing an integrated seawater and agriculture system facility in Masdar City, UAE.

The flagship project of the Masdar Institute, the facility will use seawater and natural fertiliser from aquaculture to grow plant biomass that can be converted into aviation fuel.