Will Facebook replace worldwide travel? Not according to Airbus. The airframer spent two years consulting more than 1.75 million people in 192 countries to find out what passengers are expecting from future flying. Unsurprisingly, less stressful and more sustainable flying were high factors, but so is face-to-face contact.
Despite the abundance of social tools available on the internet, which make it easier for people to do business or see long-distance friends and family without ever leaving home, Airbus says that 63% of those surveyed will actually fly more by 2050. 60% also think that social media cannot replace the need to see people face-to-face. This belief will be underlined next week when the world's aerospace and defense industry descends upon an airfield southwest of London for the largest global gathering of the industry.
This infographic by Airbus illustrates the results of its survey. Also, click here to watch a short program prepared for Airbus.
The results, says Charles Champion, Airbus EVP engineering, show “there’s 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% of world trade, and US$2.2 trillion in global GDP.”
Sustainability also remains high on the agenda. 96% of those surveyed believe aircraft will need to be more sustainable or ‘eco-efficient,’ says Airbus. The airframer says its R&D is directed at improving the environmental performance of its aircraft, highlighting the A320NEO and A350XWB as examples.
The Airbus ‘Concept Cabin’, which Aviation Week exclusively revealed last year, is the result of what Airbus says is the future of air travel.
But despite our aspirations of travelling in a flying cruise ship by 2050, the on-the-ground reality can’t be avoided. Regardless of the in-air experience, queues at passport control and check-in counters, waiting for luggage and sitting on the tarmac are high among the gripes listed by travellers.
Those flying in and out of London Heathrow for next week’s Farnborough air show will experience everything that is wrong with the passenger experience on the ground at the UK’s busiest airport. But take comfort in knowing that you could be flying on a plane like this in a few decades, and hopefully by then, the on-ground experience will have improved as well. Illustrations courtesy of Airbus.