Airbus looks to innovate

2010-02-19 12:16
Cape Town – Attention has been focused on Airbus after the world's biggest passenger aircraft, the A380, arrived in Johannesburg on Thursday, heralding a new era in air travel in the country.

The massive plane will be used on Air France's Paris to Johannesburg route.

But the development of the A380 superjumbo is just one of the new innovations by the European manufacturer.

In a bid to increase passenger comfort and boost safety, Airbus is in the process of introducing new equipment to all of its aircraft.

"Safety underlines everything we do. It's not like the automobile business, it's omnipresent," Airbus's Bob Lange told News24.

Exciting project

Lange said that the company works with an ergonomics team that tries to develop systems that can cope with the needs of passengers.

"Look, all models start with an evaluation of passenger size. People are getting larger - we see it. In countries with faster economic growth, there's faster physical growth. The whole world has an overweight problem - that's not my words, WHO (The World Health Organisation) says that."

The company, which has already delivered 6 000 planes to customers, wants to produce planes that are more fuel-efficient, while also meeting passenger demands for safety and comfort, particularly on long-haul flights. This fuel-efficiency will result in lower costs to the carrier.

One of the visible changes already taking place is the development of the "Sharklet" large wingtip devices for A320 aircraft. This is designed to reduce 3.5% of fuel burn, and will be delivered to Air New Zealand in 2012.

In the cabin, there are changes that may result in more seating for passengers.

"In the A320 we've made the fuselage wider and the whole interior is seven inches (17.7cm) wider and each seat is about an inch (2.5cm) wider," said Lange.

The wider fuselage will also allow trolleys to move down the aisle without hindering passengers from going to the bathroom.

World standard

Lange though, was most excited by an innovation Airbus calls "Spice" - an acronym for Space-Innovative Catering Equipment.

"Spice is our most exciting project," he said. "Food and catering hasn't changed in 40 years, except for uniform and hairstyles.

"The old trolleys are deadweight; they weigh between 80kg and 100kg when they're loaded. What we did is start with trays and put them in standard boxes, like sheets of paper. The result is a neater galley (food preparation area) and we can construct these like Lego."

Lange said that this meant the air craft used space more efficiently and could fit in extra seats, while saving weight.

"This way we need fewer galleys and we can save 600kg to 1.2 tonnes. We can fit in space for more seats."

Airbus hopes to create a world standard with its Spice system, but would require a buy-in from other manufacturers and suppliers.

The company has also developed a unique air flow system for its planes. Air enters the cabin at the top, so that it circulates without passengers feeling a breeze or stuffy.

"The air at 4000 feet (1 219 metres) isn't very fresh. It has to be treated and the air is recycled through filters - we call them High Efficiency Particle Arrestors - and they filter bacteria. They can be used in hospital operating theatres," Lange said.

He added that the company also researched crew rest and tried to balance "crew and the financial officer".

Read more on:    airbus  |  air travel

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


US biker deaths down: What's the secret?

Motorcycle deaths are on track to decline for a second year in the US thanks to a so far - on bikes - little-used road safety accessory.


Stay safe

US biker deaths down: What's the secret?
Pro's and con's of accredited driver-training
Juvenile pillion riders? Play safe...
Need a family ride? SA's top Mommy Cars

It is crucial to look twice before signing anything important right now. While Mercury is in retrograde strange things can happen, more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.