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Airbus shows new concept plane, says passengers want greener travel

written by australianaviation.com.au | July 9, 2012

Airbus says its new concept plane, showing what a passenger jet might look like by 2050, is based on feedback from passengers. (Airbus)

Airbus has released new artwork of a concept airliner displaying what it thinks passenger jets might look like by 2050.

The concept plane features a transparent fuselage membrane. (Airbus)

The concept features some striking departures from current generation aircraft, including partially embedded engines nestled between ultra-long wings and a sweeping, U-shaped tail. More strikingly, passengers would be able to stare out into the firmament through a lightweight, semi-transparent fuselage membrane, all from the comfort of morphing seats capable of harvesting body heat for power. Seating classes, meanwhile, would be replaced by personalised passenger areas known as ‘Vitalising,’ ‘SmartTech’ and ‘Interactive’ zones.

Another exterior view of Airbus' concept plane. (Airbus)

The concept design, released this weekend ahead of the Farnborough Airshow, came alongside the results of a two-year study by Airbus on what passengers want from the future of air travel.

The results, based on survey responses by 10,000 people from 10 countries, found that 60 per cent expect to fly more often by 2050 but 96 per cent believe that aircraft will need to be more sustainable. About two-thirds of respondents said they want quieter aircraft, with a similar number wanting planes that are fully recyclable.

Almost 40 per cent said that air travel is becoming increasingly stressful, with complaints focused on queues at passport control, slow check-in and baggage collection, extended waits on the tarmac and circling in holding patterns around airports.

“The reality is those capacity constraints are a sign of things to come unless the industry can work together to cut delays,” Charles Champion, Airbus executive vice president for engineering, said in a statement. “With aviation set to double in the next 15 years, that’s what we’re looking at.”

Airbus also used the survey results to advance the argument that social media and other forms of interactive communication will never replace the need for air travel.


“Aviation is the real World Wide Web,” Champion said. “The results of the survey show that there is nothing better than face to face contact.”



  • RH Hastings


    Harder to integrate a NEO into this aircraft. And, unlike some Airbus pronouncements, this has no prop-fan. Airbus also touts their A350 window shades over the B787 dimmable windows. Here, how does that big fuselage “membrane” dim for sleeping? Maybe some large curtains?

  • jimmy latsos


    Yes it is a striking concept,it does give a new meaning to star gazing with that transparent fuselage! Will this concept be without pilots??

  • David Bentley


    Interesting take on the future. Looks a bit Sonic Cruiser- ish. Those lovely raked intakes look even more likely to Hoover up all kinds of debris on the tarmac. As for no pilots? Even though pilots are by far the most likely cause of an accident, I still want them on board 🙂

  • Lance


    Looks like flight deck windows in the lower nose, perhaps sleep masks would be a necessary with the membrane windows.

  • robert


    The Boeing “Blended wing” concept of airframe design may prevail as the best option for the future .

  • Ron


    I’ll be damned… I didn’t think even Airbus could come up with anything uglier than the 380. But they did!

  • Hagop


    will this future airplane still need pilots to operate it?

Comments are closed.


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