Emirates airline chairman Sir Tim Clark has suggested that aircraft in the not too distant future could have no windows.
Widely regard in the aviation industry as being one of the most astute and strategic thinkers, Clark said the removal of windows, coupled with using the latest technologies, could reduce the weight of the aircraft by 50 percent, increase speed and ultimately cut costs.
He added that he doesn’t think the recent revival of developing supersonic air travel would extend to larger, commercial aircraft.
“The [Boeing] 787s and [Airbus] A350s were game changers in terms of building materials that were chosen,” said Clark, speaking on the airline’s podcast series Emirates World.
“In my view, things are going to have to change again. We would like to see the aircraft flying faster – I’m not talking supersonic. There is a move to introduce supersonic corporate jets – that may happen; it depends on the propulsion, and it depends on fuel, etcetera.
“Will we have an A380 at supersonic speeds in the next 20 years? No I don’t think so.”
Clark said the windowless aircraft would have the same appearance and brightness inside the cabin, and actually give passengers a better view of the outside using the using the 'virtual window' that was unveiled in Emirates’ new First Class Private Suite on board its newest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
“On the outside, there may appear to be no windows, but on the inside there will be a full display of windows. And we will use fibre optic camera technology to beam in the images from the outside into those windows, as we have done in the first class seats,” Clark explained.
“In fact these images are such high definition, with a very high pixel count, they are better than with the naked eye.”
By removing the windows, Clark said manufacturers could build one complete fuselage (body) without having to reinforce it for windows.
“If you’ve got a composite fuselage which is produced in one drum, so to speak, with no windows, the aircraft is automatically much lighter,” Clark said.
“The wings are already lighter because they’re composite. So that mean that you need less propulsion to get the job done, which means less fuel burn, less environmental concerns. And hopefully the aircraft at Mach .92 instead of .83, .84, which gives you a speed that will cut down the city pair mission times.”
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