The last few years I became more and more interested in the aviation industry. It’s fascinating how a big metal bird can fly you to the other side of the world in just a couple of hours. Airbus and Boeing keep innovating and developing new planes with impressive high technology. Travel is becoming less of a luxury and more people are looking at planes as a way of transport from point A to point B. Since I love to learn more about all these new improvements, I will list some of the new things we can expect in the future of this industry. Will we be able to fly from London to New York in three hours? And do we not need a passport anymore to check in? All I can say is that the future looks exciting.
- Biofuel. Let’s talk about climate change. It’s here and it’s happening. More than 9,728 planes are in the sky at any time and air travel makes up between four and nine percent of all man-made greenhouse gases. This is one of the reasons why we would need an alternative. It leads us for example to biofuel and it could certainly be a great option. The benefit of biofuel is that it’s not limited by battery storage and it turns out that it’s way lighter per gallon than standard fuel. With this in mind, the plane will fly further per gallon of fuel with the result that each flight will generate more income. KLM, a Dutch airline, has carried out the world’s longest flight powered by biofuel in 2012. The 5900 miles journey was between the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam to Rio de Janeiro and was seen as a big step towards cleaner skies. Although biofuel isn’t used much for commercial air travel yet, it could be very possible in the future. Just remember that there are many pros and cons on this specific topic.
- Free Wi-fi on board. Being on a plane for a couple of hours and be disconnected from the rest of the world while you’re 35,000ft up in the clouds. No e-mails, no phone calls and no social media. Doesn’t that sound amazing? It used to be that way for a long period but things are changing. Free messaging and texting are becoming more and more popular for many airlines. Delta Air Lines started the competition for long haul flights already and it probably won’t take long until others mainline carriers have to join them as well.
- Airport innovations. Automation is something we will see at airports in the future. Waiting in line for security, passport control and during the boarding process is experienced as something most people don’t like. At bigger airports we start to see new innovations to solve this problem though. Passengers are encouraged to do a lot of things on their own. Checking in your luggage, going through the so called ‘smart gates’ and biometric security, all by yourself. This makes the process go smoother and faster. Biometric security in particular will become vastly more common in the future. The combination of facial/vocal recognition and fingerprints will all lead to safer air travel.
- In-flight Apps. Most people have their phone with them at all times. Wouldn’t it be smart to do something with that? Since having your boarding pass on your phone is becoming more popular, Boeing took action and talked to Recaro and Panasonic Avionics. They came with the concept for an app called vCabin. It’s basically a remote app which allows passengers to adjust the lightning above their seat, temperature and check whether the lavatory is occupied or not. The app would also help flight attendants by letting them know which passenger doesn’t wear their seatbelt and which language they’re speaking. All of this to make the service and the experience on board even better. “We’re really thinking about pushing the boundaries past what we know today,” says Dan Bittner, lead engineer of Product Development at Boeing. “What it offers the passenger is a way to interact with the airplane like never before.”
I think we could go on and on about all of these new high tech innovations. The world and the aviation industry that we know today, will be completely different again in 20 years. Maybe some of the things I wrote about won’t even happen. Do you think that airports will turn out to be a stress-free zone? And will robots take over 50% of the airline jobs that exist nowadays? Let me know in the comments about your opinion.