New style Airbus plane could cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent

Prototype of redesigned aircraft on show in Singapore

Airbus has unveiled its plans for a new generation of aircraft that blend wing and body in a move designed to reduce carbon emissions from its flights by up to 20 per cent.

A model of the restyled plane was on show at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore today, February 11.

Reuters reported that the European plane maker had been carrying out flight tests of a 3.2-metre-wide (10.5 feet) technology demonstrator, code-named Maveric, at a secret location in central France since last year. It lifted the veil on the design for delegates at the show.

Airbus is among a number of aircraft makers who are looking at ways to design planes with minimal aerodynamic drag, making them more efficient to fly, cheaper on fuel, and producing a smaller amount of CO2 emissions.

While the blended wing body may be sleeker in design, there are still a number of issues to be resolved. These types of aircraft are more difficult for pilots to fly and control. Other questions involve whether passenger windows would have to be created and how the planes could be integrated into airports.

The changes come as the passenger jet industry tries to reduce its carbon footprint and appeal to customers who worry about the environmental cost of flying for business and leisure.

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“We believe it is high time now to push this technology further and study what it brings to us,” Jean-Brice Dumont, executive vice-president of engineering at Airbus, Reuters reported. “We need these disruptive technologies to meet our environmental challenge. It is the next generation of aircraft; we are studying an option.”

He said it was too early to say whether such shapes could contribute to the next generation of medium-haul planes, expected in the 2030s.

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