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Climate-conscious flying: with a Tupperware and without a screen

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Climate-conscious flying: with a Tupperware and without a screen

Economy Climate-conscious travel

future of flying? Airbus’ bizarre new eco-cabin

As of: 5:31 p.m. | Reading time: 4 minutes

Airbus’ vision: like “a sparsely furnished Danish holiday home”

What: Airbus

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Airbus aircraft should use less fuel in the future. The manufacturer wants to throw everything out of the cabin that is not absolutely necessary and relies on the passengers voluntarily forgoing comfort. The cancellation program for business class is particularly drastic.

In Hall B1 of the Hamburg exhibition center, men in expensive suits are lounging in chairs and ecstatically moving the electric backrests up and down. Adient Aerospace, a provider of aircraft interiors belonging to the Boeing Group, is presenting its new “Front Row Suite”.

A small booth within a booth that looks a bit like a miniature version of a nightclub from 50’s or 60’s America, with an internally lit minibar, a visitor chair under the stylish retro lamp and a button that opens a bottle of champagne at the push of a button and two glasses slip out of a hidden cooler compartment.

Luxury and a little decadence above the clouds – that’s what you would expect at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, where the international aviation scene finds out about the latest trends and furnishings for aircraft cabins. However, a completely different picture was presented to trade fair visitors when they rode down an escalator and turned right into Hall B5. Here Airbus presented its vision of the aircraft cabin of the future – a very different one.

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More about Airbus

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Airbus has set up two business seats from the new “C-Suite” as prototypes for airline buyers to try out. They are made from recycled textiles and, with their beige and gray color, are reminiscent of a spartanly furnished Danish holiday home.

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All of the electronics that business seats are usually crammed with have been removed. If you want to fold your seat into the sleeping position, you have to do it with muscle power, like in a small car. Luxury travelers will look in vain for champagne coolers or flat screens like the Boeing next door.

The entertainment electronics is limited to – a mobile phone holder. “Most customers bring their own devices with them anyway,” says Axel Becker, Trend Research Manager at Airbus, justifying the economical solution. He has a lot to explain at the fair. Because the “C-Suite” breaks with practically all expectations that airlines and their customers have previously associated with air travel in the luxury class.

Instead of luxury and comfort, everything here was subject to ecological balance and purism. Seats in economy class are usually very light. But there is still considerable potential for large business chairs, says Becker. “They are 30 percent lighter. Within a year, you can save over 250 tons of CO₂ with one seat.”

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Discontinued giant Airbus

The sparse C-suite is part of an overall strategy by the European aircraft manufacturer, which has identified an area that has so far received less attention in the race to achieve climate goals in the cabin. Airbus has calculated that between ten and 20 percent of the ecological damage caused by an aircraft is caused by the cabin. 95 percent during the flight.

Every gram of weight of seats and panels, kitchen and toilets has to be transported into the air with the thrust of the machines and increases kerosene consumption and CO₂ emissions. In addition, the raw materials and materials and their disposal have a negative impact on the life cycle assessment of an aircraft. Therefore, according to Airbus’ ideas, everything should now be thrown overboard that is not absolutely necessary.

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Boeing ends production

The company is experimenting with bionic shapes and materials, which have the structure of mushrooms and thus meet the same static requirements with less material. Visualizations show strangely ramified supports under which the passengers sit as if under gnarled trees.

But the engineers have also discovered savings potential in apparently trivial things. At the Hamburg stand, for example, there is one of these narrow food trolleys that flight attendants use to cart meals and drinks to the passengers. But this is a special example that – unlike the business seats – is equipped with a kind of tablet. “That’s the Smart Trolley,” says Becker.

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Instead of loading chicken and noodles on board and having to throw away unused meals after each flight, all passengers should in future book their meals online in advance. This option is already offered in the higher classes, but in the wooden class it usually fails because of the time it takes to allocate the dishes. The digital trolley should make this possible – and thus save up to 15 percent on so-called overcatering.

A rather small lever: The average ecological balance per passenger would be improved by 0.22 percent. But Airbus’ strike program goes even further. For shorter flights, passengers should pick up their food themselves at the gate and carry it to their seat in a warm box. Instead of a kitchen and trolleys, there would then be more space for seats.

Netflix on the cell phone and food from the Tupperware – that sounds far away from Hall B1 and Boeing. There, an airline emissary in the “Front Row Suite” curiously opens the lid of a small box. A marketing employee provides the explanation. That, she says, is the electric slipper warmer.

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In order to display embedded content, your revocable consent to the transmission and processing of personal data is required, since the providers of the embedded content as third-party providers require this consent [In diesem Zusammenhang können auch Nutzungsprofile (u.a. auf Basis von Cookie-IDs) gebildet und angereichert werden, auch außerhalb des EWR]. By setting the switch to “on”, you agree to this (which can be revoked at any time). This also includes your consent to the transfer of certain personal data to third countries, including the USA, in accordance with Art. 49 (1) (a) GDPR. You can find more information about this. You can withdraw your consent at any time via the switch and via privacy at the bottom of the page.

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