Future by Airbus

Looking ahead

Through innovation, and out-of-the-box thinking, Airbus will continue to meet its eco-efficiency goals, and ensure that air travel continues to be one of the safest, and most eco-efficient, means of transportation.

As the air transport sector continues to grow, Airbus believes that the industry as a whole must concentrate on technological advances, while also advancing solutions that will meet passenger and market demands, the growing population and its demographic profile, and respect all aspects of the environment.

After celebrating its own four decades of innovation, Airbus now is looking to the next 40-plus years – actively working with other industry stakeholders and experts to anticipate the global needs of a better-connected and more sustainable world.

However, it all begins with one question: “what will air transport look like in the year 2050?” In its report “The Future by Airbus,” Airbus hypothesises how the industry, aircraft and passengers might change by that time – while highlighting potential steps to meet the needs of tomorrow. 

Smarter skies

Airbus unveils its 2050 vision for ‘Smarter Skies’

More flights, fewer emissions and quicker passenger journey times. Welcome to Smarter Skies, the latest instalment in The Future by Airbus. For the first time, our vision of sustainable aviation in 2050 looks beyond aircraft design to how the aircraft is operated both on the ground and in the air in order to meet the expected growth in air travel in a sustainable way.

Already today, if the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system and technology on board aircraft were optimised (assuming around 30 million flights per year), Airbus research suggests that every flight in the world could on average be around 13 minutes shorter. This would save around 9 million tonnes of excess fuel annually, which equates to over 28 million tonnes of avoidable CO2 emissions and a saving for passengers of over 500 million hours of excess flight time on board an aircraft. Add to this new aircraft design, alternative energy sources and new ways of flying and you could see even more significant improvements.

The Future by Airbus concentrates on just that and the Smarter Skies vision consists of five concepts which could be implemented across all the stages of an aircraft’s operation to reduce waste in the system (waste in time, waste in fuel, reduction of CO2.

Anticipating needs

Click to enlarge and view the infographics

Since launching this report in 2010, Airbus has embarked on a two-year global consultation with more than 1.75 million people through airshows, events and online, as part of the Future by Airbus programme – our vision of sustainable aviation in 2050. 

In 2010 we asked 10,000 people around the globe, who will be passengers in 2050, what they will want from air travel. Their answer was clear: cheaper, greener and more fun! 

 In 2012, another 10,000 have told us what they want from the future of flight: more sustainable; less stressful; and more of it, despite social media revolutionising how we keep in touch.  

• 63% of people worldwide say they will fly more by 2050 

• 60% do not think social media will replace the need to see people face-to-face 

• 96% believe aircraft will need to be more sustainable or ‘eco-efficient’ 

• Almost 40% feel air travel (door-to-door) is increasingly stressful 

• 86% of people think less fuel burn is key and 85% a reduction in carbon emissions 

• 66% want quieter aircraft and 65% planes which are fully recyclable


Future solutions

Even a few decades from now, the world will be very different from today. Our lives and travel needs will have changed and, because the global population will increase to over 9 billion, looking after the planet will be even more important than ever.

So what will this world look like? How will we get around? And how will we take care of the environment?

Take a peek at The Future by Airbus…

Future workplace

The world will be very different in many ways by 2050, but one thing will not change. We will still need great people to make it even better!

Airbus knows that it will take the very best talent from around the world if we are going to help more people have access to the benefits of air travel and still look after the environment. But even once we've found the right combination of people, we need to make sure that we can support them by providing the best training and facilities.  But what will that look like by 2050 - when the schoolchildren of today will be creating the next generation of air transport?

Future talent

People from every background can help shape the future by working in the aerospace industry. The Airbus Fly Your Ideas challenge brings together students from all disciplines and from all around the world to tell us what they would do to make the aviation industry more sustainable.

Launched in 2008, the competition runs every two years and gives students the opportunity to participate in the latest innovative thinking. The winning team receives a prize of €30,000, the runner's up get €15,000 and all of the finalists get the chance to present their ideas at an international airshow.

Event

Did you know?

"We surveyed over 10,000 people around the world who will be passengers in 2050 to ask what they want from the aviation industry in the future.

Their message was clear – we need to help as many people as possible share in the benefits that air transport brings, but we need to achieve this while looking after the environment."

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