Flocks of super planes: Airbus’s vision of future travel

Airbus, a France-based airplane manufacturer that produces approximately half of the world’s jet airliners, has revealed its vision for the future of air travel.

While most of the company’s future concepts are motivated by the growing need for efficiency and the reduction of CO2 emissions, that does not make them any less spectacular, with the prospect of numbers of jet aircraft flying in formation in order to deliver greater numbers of passengers to popular destinations at the same time, just one of the developments being considered.

The plans, which Airbus say could materialise as soon as 2050, also include the reduction of journey times with steeper take-offs, and a reduction in noise and emission pollution by the introduction of glide-in landings. Add to this intelligent aircraft that could select their own most efficient routes, and Airbus predict that average journey times between America and Europe could see a reduction of 13 minutes by the middle of this century.

In a typical year, such a time reduction would save not only five million flying hours, but also nine million tons of fuel and 28 million tons of CO2 emissions.

Airbus engineering executive vice president, Charles Champion, was reported by the Daily Mail as saying, ‘Our engineers are continuously encouraged to think widely and come up with ‘disruptive’ ideas which will assist our industry in meeting the 2050 targets we have signed up to. These and the other tough environmental targets will only be met by a combination of investment in smarter aircraft design and optimising the environment in which the aircraft operates. That is why our latest Future by Airbus Smarter Skies concepts focus on not just what we fly, but how we may fly in 2050 and beyond.’

 

Air France overhauls services

In a move to expand and upgrade its services, Air France has announced that it has made major changes to its ground and in-flight services to enhance customer satisfaction.

The carrier said that its passengers using any of the 12 airports in France could avail of services from new self-service kiosks. The automated service at the kiosks will allow them to print their own baggage labels. The advantage is that customers will be able to go to Express baggage drop-off areas and avoid check-in counters, thereby freeing up time for other, more creative pastimes. In addition, Voyageur and Premium Voyageur passengers on long-haul flights will be treated to an a la carte meal service. This service is being offered in association with sister airline, KLM, which has been offering similar services.

Customers that are offered the cuisine may choose from dishes that range from traditional French meals, fresh seafood, healthy organic, Italian or a special dish designed by the Lenotre culinary institute. Prices will start at EUR12.

Bringing refinement to its menu, the carrier said that it has made improvements to its Premium Voyageur menu, created by French chef, Michel Nugues. Business class passengers can enjoy dishes by Michelin star chef, Guy Martin, until January 2013.

Other service enhancements being offered by the carrier include,

Paid-for baggage collection and delivery for customers using Paris CDG

VIP services such as chauffeur-driven transfers

Use of hotel rooms for a few hours of relaxation

And an array of new entertainments that include cinema and TV programmes.