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Airbus Looks to Modular Pod Design to Speed Up Boarding

Airbus’ new modular cabin design could give the old heave-ho to the conventional boarding process.

Airbus has patented a new cabin design that it believes could revolutionize the passenger boarding process.

While the aircraft manufacturer has focused on various seat designs in the past, this new concept concentrates on the cabin itself. Its aim is to reduce a plane’s turn-time, which is essentially the amount of time that a plane spends on the tarmac.

To speed things up, Airbus’ new design features “a removable cabin module, comprising a floor, an upper aircraft fuselage portion connected to the floor, and a first and a second end wall, wherein the first and second end walls, the floor and the upper aircraft fuselage portion form a cabin for transport of passengers, luggage, freight or combinations thereof.”

The idea is that passengers enter and board the module at the gate, and once all are seated, the container is then hoisted onto the plane and fixed into place.

Once the plane arrives at its final destination, the boarding process is reversed, with the cabin being removed and another pre-loaded module swiftly taking its place.

But this potential innovation isn’t solely a product of traveler experience, rather, in an industry that typically receives only $8.27 per passenger, even a difference of a few minutes can have a significant impact on the overall profit margin.

This aircraft pod concept, as Airbus terms it, envisions a much smoother boarding process, one where “passengers could be pre-seated in cabin pods before the plane actually arrives, ready for integration on the aircraft.”

While the manufacturer’s design received the official seal of approval from the United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier this week, there are still a number of things to consider before Airbus’ plans are realized.

Regardless of the mechanism used to secure the pod to the body of the plane, it needs to comply with the industry’s stringent safety protocols. Additionally, existing airport infrastructure will need to be overhauled and adapted in order to handle and transport Airbus’ modular cabin containers.

It may be cutting-edge, but given these caveats, the wait for this much more refined boarding process could be indefinite.

[Photo: Airbus]

Comments are Closed.
gbs1112 January 13, 2016

Boarding efficiency could be improved vastly before any need for vastly expensive hardware is needed.

BJM December 1, 2015

More silliness from a certain aircraft maker. It just won't fly, in my opinion.