Paris 2011: Airbus Reveals the Possible Shape of Air Travel in 2050

 - June 23, 2011, 3:00 AM

The best and brightest minds at Airbus (Chalet S3 418) have peered into their crystal balls and come up with what they think aircraft cabins will look like by 2050, along with a raft of futuristic ideas for how the passenger experience could be revolutionized.

Presenting “The Future by Airbus” in both Paris and London last week, the European aircraft manufacturer premiered a 25-minute film with awe-inspiring ideas of transparent aircraft, seats that grow organically and extract body energy to help power the aircraft and pods that passengers could use for seamless transport between modes.

 “Our research shows that passengers of 2050 will expect a seamless travel experience while also caring for the environment,” said Charles Champion, Airbus executive v-p engineering. “The Airbus Concept Cabin is designed with that in mind, and shows that the journey can be as much a voyage of discovery as the destination.”

Airbus spends some $2 billion annually on research and development, with much of this having environmental benefits. For example, the Concept Cabin is designed to be 100-percent recyclable, as will much of the Airbus Concept Plane (unveiled by the company last year).

The Future by Airbus has five pillars: energy sources (alternative fuels); flight paths (air traffic management); travel solutions (new business models); research and technology (of which the Concept Plane and Concept cabin are part); and “Future Talent.”

Indeed, the panoramic film was clearly designed for youngsters as well as adults, aimed to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in aerospace. The company now hopes that the film will be shown in planetariums around the world.

The sixth element of the five pillars that Airbus will address has not been decided, although one spokesman told AIN that it could be airports, given the frustrating bottleneck that security currently represents to most travelers.