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Air travel remains real World Wide Web as Facebook won’t replace face to face

Survey highlights opportunities to improve passenger experience

6 July 2012 Press Release

On the eve of the Farnborough International Airshow, Airbus reveals the latest findings in a two-year global consultation with more than 1.75 million people which spells out what passengers want from flying in the future: 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

“Aviation is the real World Wide Web,” says Charles Champion, Airbus Executive Vice President, Engineering. “The results of the survey show that there is nothing better than face to face contact. The world is woven together by a web of flights that creates ever-expanding social and economic networks: 57 million jobs, 35 per cent of world trade, and US$2.2 trillion in global GDP.

“Since we launched the Future by Airbus, we have engaged with people in 192 countries in a dialogue about the future of air travel. This resulted in our revolutionary Airbus Concept Plane and Cabin which offer a glimpse into some of the innovations that could meet evolving passenger trends and environmental considerations. It’s clear that people are really excited about the future of sustainable flight and we want them to be part of shaping that future.”

•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

But Champion notes that as more people fly more often, the greater their expectations will be for the ‘end-to-end passenger experience.’ The Airbus consultation highlights a predictable list of gripes: queues at passport control; slow check-in and baggage collection; sitting on the tarmac; and circling in holding patterns around airports.  

“In London for example we’ve seen concern about queues at airports and people are understandably not happy about it,” he adds.  “But 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.”

More than 90 per cent of the €2 billion that Airbus spends on Research & Development is directed at improving the environmental performance of its aircraft.  The latest generation includes the flagship A380, the world’s largest yet quietest commercial aircraft; a fuel efficient ‘new engine option’ for the A320 family, the A320neo; and the A350 XWB that will provide a 25 per cent step-change in fuel efficiency whilst giving passengers more space on board.

Notes to Editors

- Airbus has engaged with over 1.75 million people through airshows, events and online since 2010 as part of the Future by Airbus – its vision of sustainable aviation in 2050.  Its latest findings are based on responses from 10,000 people across 10 countries

- The Airbus Concept Plane illustrates what air transport could look like in 2050– even 2030 if advancements in existing technologies continue apace.  Airbus experts in aircraft materials, aerodynamics, cabins and engines came up with the design which is an ‘engineer’s dream’ to meet the expectations of the passengers of the future.  Ultra long and slim wings, semi-embedded engines, a U-shaped tail and light-weight ‘intelligent’ body all feature to further improve environmental performance or ‘eco-efficiency’.  The result: lower fuel burn, a significant cut in emissions, less noise and greater comfort.

- The Airbus Concept Cabin later gave insight into the innovations that might shape passenger experiences on board.  Personalised ‘Vitalising’, ’Smart Tech’, and ‘Interactive’ zones replace first, business and economy classes; and passengers can stargaze through a transparent wall membrane, from morphing seats that harvest body heat for power.

- On the A380 passengers use just three litres of fuel to travel 100km – the same as a small family car.  The A320neo, the fastest-selling commercial jetliner ever, features a 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption.  The A350 XWB offers passengers more headroom, the widest seats in its category and larger overhead storage space.  

- The aviation industry as a whole has reduced fuel burn and emissions by 70% and noise by 75% in the last 40 years.  It is now targeting total carbon neutral growth by 2020 and a 50% net CO2 emissions reduction by 2050.

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