Thursday 27 October 2016

Airbus wants to build 'shipping container' cabins that detach from planes

Proposal would mean passengers wouldn't have to wait to board, and planes would spend less time on the ground

Andrew Trotman

Published 27/11/2015 | 07:51

Airbus' patent filing showing how the cabin could be lifted onto the rest of the plane
Airbus' patent filing showing how the cabin could be lifted onto the rest of the plane

Airbus could be set to create the next-generation of planes after filing a patent featuring detachable cabins.

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The proposal would see passengers "board" the cabin and take their seats, before it is lifted like a shipping container onto the back of the plane. It is then fixed into place and the plane operates as normal.

The idea is designed to speed up the boarding process by allowing ticket-holders to take their seats before their plane is ready and in position at the airport's gate.

"The period of imobilisation on the ground of the aeroplanes between two successive flights increases their operational cost. Indeed, the longer this period of immobilisation, the less actual flight time of each aeroplane," Airbus stated in its filing.

"A long period of immobilisation on the ground can also result in additional fuel consumption."

Rival Boeing has previously stated that cutting down an airplane’s turnaround time by 10 minutes improve its utilisation level by 8.1pc.

According to Wired, which first reported the filing, Airbus added: “Passengers could be pre-seated in cabin pods before the plane actually arrives, ready for integration on the aircraft, saving time and making processing much simpler.”

The aircraft manufacturer also believes its proposal - dubbed the "aircraft pod concept" will allow planes to be modified quickly and easily. This could allow changes to allow "different levels of comfort" for passengers.

However, Airbus' proposal requires new docking stations and equipment to transport the "pods" between the airport and the plane.

Airbus filed the patent in February 2013 but it was only approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier this week.

However, it's not the only revolutionary idea Airbus has come up with recently.

Last month it revealed designs for a row on seats on a second level mezzanine for planes to make the most of vacant space.

A number of different proposals show how seats built into another level on an aircraft could allow space for reclining chairs on both levels, with bunk bed-style steps leading to the upper seats, while the lower-level would be comprised of ottomans.

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