(Bloomberg) -- Planes could be up for a drastic facelift.
The industry is looking at new designs to reduce carbon emissions and improve efficiencies. One idea is to make the wings part of the plane’s fuselage to reduce drag and noise. Another calls for advanced composite materials that will make the bodies lighter.
KLM is investing in a new concept. The “Flying-V,” being developed by Delft University of Technology, looks at splitting the aircraft into two sections toward the rear, combining the body with the wings. That will give the aircraft the same wingspan as Airbus SE’s A350 wide-body, carry 314 passengers, but consume 20% less fuel, the Dutch airline said in a statement.
“At KLM, we put sustainability very high on our agenda,” Pieter Elbers, head of the Dutch arm of Air France-KLM, said Monday in an interview in Seoul. “We really want to demonstrate our commitment and our involvement in that.”
The International Air Transport Association is also looking at two new designs for smaller planes that may carry as many as 150 passengers and be made operational as early as 2035.
One of the concepts is to fuse the wings with the rear part of the aircraft and have two engines mounted on the body. That could cut carbon emissions by 30%. The other is to build a fully electric plane with engines inside the wings powered by battery packs or fuel cells. The wingtips will be curled inward to improve aerodynamic efficiency.
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