Last week, we revealed details about the Airbus A350’s dimmable windows, highlighting what we can expect from the manufacturer this decade. This feature is just one of several fresh touches that the aviation powerhouse is working on with its Airspace cabin.
The next evolution
The Airspace cabin concept was first launched by Airbus in 2016, initially revolving around widebodies. The program is continuing to make grand strides following narrowbody expansions this year. Notably, JetBlue’s new Airbus A321LR deployed across the Atlantic Ocean, which Simple Flying had the honor of setting foot on, features the new innovative interior. Lufthansa and Jet2 are also adopting the cabin for the A320neo family.
Overall, Airbus currently seeks to provide long-haul comfort in the widest single-aisle setting. Core features include flexible seating, wider economy seats, and full-flat business seats. Ergonomic sidewalls and extra-large luggage bins are also major aspects, with 60% greater storage on offer.
The roomy appeal transcends to the windows, where Airbus has wholly integrated the shades to optimize visibility and allow for more natural light to enter. Windows will remain a focal point in the next chapter of Airspace introductions. Simple Flying also had the opportunity to board the Airbus Airspace Explorer, the company’s dedicated cross-program flight test platform, during the Airbus Summit in Toulouse last week.
The Airbus A350 windows are built with a slight inward curve to flatten out curvature and reduce drag and in turn fuel burn. These windows are electro-dimmable, blocking sunlight by over 99.9%.
The Explorer also showcases an eco-friendly carpet, which is produced with 100% regenerated nylon yarn and can be made in any color. The recyclable carpet offers plenty of interior design opportunities.
Other additions include cultivating modern tech such as the Internet of Things (IoT) to converge onboard appliances. With this move, flight attendants can determine the needs of passengers, including catering and inventory requirements. Valuable cabin information can be displayed for staff members to evaluate.
Notably, these implementations are part of a broader strategy. Airbus is determined to keep innovating to creatively allow airlines to operate efficiently.
“We are constantly working on the airframe and the materials to have the lightest and the most advanced CFRP (carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic). Today, the A350 is made of 53% composites. Tomorrow, it might be a completely different range. [We are also working on] the cabin. Here, the material has a big role to play along with connectivity. We are looking to introduce the Internet of Things in the cabin,” Airbus Chief Technical Officer Sabine Klauke shared at the Airbus Summit.
“So, a lot is done everywhere. Last but not least is the wings. We’re looking into laminar flow technologies by aspect ratio wing design. We look constantly in how we can improve our production processes – with digitalization, automation, and robotization, to help our people to really make the steps in the most robust and helpful way.”
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These new features will combine well with existing Airspace innovations. The LED lighting technologies allow airlines to smoothly transition tones to meet their requirements. The customizable illumination can be matched with verbal cues from crew members to guide passengers on board. This factor has been put to good use since the rise of the global health crisis to encourage social distancing when deplaning.
During the tour of the cabin, Airbus displayed how staff members can reset the cabin windows by tapping their tablet, saving time and effort. Additionally, maintenance workers can move all the seats upright with a tap of a finger. Altogether, It is clear that digitalization will be a cabin focus in the new era.
What are your thoughts about the new Airspace cabin initiatives? What do you make of the overall plans of Airbus? Let us know what you think in the comment section.