Airbus predicts travel's future: cleaner, quieter, and more of it

Airbus predicts travel's future: cleaner, quieter, and more of it

What do you want from the future of travel? Following a two-year survey of people in 192 countries, Airbus says it has the answers, which will guide how it develops the planes you'll fly on for the next thirty-plus years.

More travel, greener travel and less stressful travel are all high on people's wish lists, with a surprising majority (66 percent) highlighting that they're also keen on quieter aircraft. We know that business travellers and frequent flyers appreciate newer, less noisy aircraft like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787, but it's interesting to note the wider support base for these planes.

Airbus' curvy, futuristic Concept Plane also makes an appearance in the planemaker's future sketches.

Check out our photo tour for more of Airbus' Concept Plane!

You'll be unsurprised that people interviewed for a survey from company in the business of making airplanes see themselves travelling more in the future. 63 percent of people in Airbus' survey said they'll fly more by 2050, and 60 percent said they don't think social media will replace the need to see people face-to-face.

That fits with our own thoughts. Despite decreasing travel from most developed economies during the global financial crisis, the growing focus on developing markets like the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, China, India) will stimulate travel -- within, from and to those markets.

The environment's also a focus: 86 percent of people reckon that burning less fuel is key, while 85 percent are keen on a reduction in carbon emissions. 65 percent of people think it's important that planes are fully recyclable.

Airbus' survey reserves what it calls "a predictable list of gripes" for the airport and air traffic control side of things. Passport control queues, slow check-in and baggage collection, tarmac delays and holding patterns before landing are all in Airbus' sights as some of the reasons why people dislike flying.

Charles Champion, Airbus' EVP in charge of Engineering, explains: "The reality is those capacity constraints are a sign of things to come unless the industry can work together to cut delays, and with aviation set to double in the next 15 years, that’s what we’re looking at."

This bloke doesn't look especially stressed, but Airbus' survey reckons that forty percent of his fellow passengers are.

Airbus' survey says that 40 percent of people are finding air travel (door-to-door) increasingly stressful -- but that means that 60 percent of people don't.

Among that sixty percent are likely to be frequent business travellers, who see benefits like valet parking, fast-track security, priority baggage and a special phone line or lounge staffers for when things go wrong.

Are you in the forty percent of people who find air travel more stressful -- or the sixty percent who don't? What's the most stressful thing about your business travel, and what have airlines done to try to make that "pinch point" better? Sound off in a comment below!

John Walton

John Walton (John Walton)


Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


20 Jan, 2018 06:13 am


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