Airbus patents removable cabins to reduce aircraft boarding times

Alright, everyone. It’s quiz time. What’s the worst about theft? “Everything” is a perfectly appropriate answer, but the one thing that is most miserable about theft is the wait.

While waiting to go through security. Waiting for bad food and overpriced water. Waiting to get on the damn plane, waiting to get off the damn plane. You might think the industry’s approach to customer service is “hurry up and wait,” but the airlines hate it as much as you expect. Whenever a plane is stationary, it does not earn money. Boeing says reducing an aircraft’s “turn time” – its time on the ground – by 10 minutes improves utilization by 8.1%. That’s a big deal in an industry that typically generates a profit of just $ 8.27 per passenger, and that’s why flight attendants are practically pushing you down the aisle. Airlines want you to sit down as soon as possible.

This caused Airbus to reconsider the boarding process with the idea of ​​turning the aircraft cabins into a quantity of shipping containers. We will stop here to let you moan.

You know Airbus. In addition to making the beautifully huge A380 and the hugely popular A320, the company also came up with two of the most questionable seating ideas imaginable: the backless bicycle seat half-support model and what we call the concept d ‘between decks which essentially stacks passengers. The people in charge of R&D seem to spend a considerable amount of time imagining ways to make flight even more hellish, but the latest idea, filed in February 2013 and approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office just yesterday , distracts attention from seats to the cabin itself.

To reduce the turnaround time of an aircraft, Airbus offers “a removable cabin module, comprising a floor, an upper part of the aircraft fuselage connected to the floor, and a first and a second end wall, in which the first and second end walls, the floor and the upper part of the fuselage of the aircraft form a cabin for the transport of passengers, baggage, cargo or combinations thereof.

In other words, it is a detachable dashboard for the passengers when it is at the door. Once everyone is seated, the basket is lowered onto the plane. When you arrive at your destination, the cabin is removed, another is added, and the plane takes off. The time spent on the ground is drastically reduced.

This is not the craziest idea. If everything in the cabin could be ready and waiting for the pilots to arrive with the tray, so to speak, then with the cabin container attached, you would be up and running in a jiffy. Airbus called this the “aircraft nacelle concept”, claiming that “passengers could be pre-installed in cabin nacelles before the actual arrival of the aircraft, ready to be integrated into the aircraft, which would save time and simplify processing “.

But there are few industries as tightly regulated as the airline industry, and one would imagine that the safety protocol of ensuring the nacelle does not jump at 36,000 feet would negate at least some of the time saved. not waiting for that jerk with the oversized go on to finally check out the damn thing. Then there is the issue of airport infrastructure. The Airbus patent includes drawings of the docking stations and transport equipment to move the cabin containers around, but unless you snap your fingers and end up in Tomorrowland, this kind of terminal overhaul seems highly unlikely. . That, and the fact that designing a new airplane from scratch takes about a decade and billions of dollars. Something so different from the status quo would almost certainly take more time and more money.

So here is. The “Method of boarding and disembarking passengers from an aircraft with reduced downtime of the aircraft, aircraft and terminal for its implementation” will not happen anytime soon in a airport near you, but at least the designers and engineers of Airbus dream big. And if they fall for this VR headset idea that they launched a while back, we might actually start to look forward to it after all.


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