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British Airways is exploring the possibility of using 3D printers to create aircraft parts in the future

BRITISH AIRWAYS TRIALS 3D PRINTING TO IMPROVE PUNCTUALITY AND REDUCE EMISSIONS CAUSED BY FLYING SPARE PARTS AROUND THE WORLD
  • British Airways’ tech experts say the possibilities for 3D printing in aviation are limitless and share predictions of how 3D printers could transform the industry
  • In the future machines could routinely be used to create aircraft parts, reducing delays for customers
  • Initiative is part of airline’s flightpath to net zero carbon emissions by 2050

British Airways is exploring the possibility of using 3D printers to create aircraft parts in the future. These printers would be located at airports around the world to reduce delays for customers and emissions caused by transporting items.

The airline’s innovators predict that non-essential cabin parts will be first on the list to be generated, including pieces of tray tables, entertainment systems and toilets. While these components do not impact the safe operation of the flight, they can reduce the number of seats or toilets available for customers and cause delays as engineers wait for the parts to be flown to wherever the aircraft is.

Ricardo Vidal, Head of Innovation at British Airways, says this area of technology has never been more important to ensure sustainability and a seamless travel experience:  “We work with start-ups and innovation partners from around the world to explore and implement the very latest technologies, from artificial intelligence to speed up turnaround times to biometrics, helping us to deliver a seamless airport experience for customers. 3D printing is yet another advancement that will keep us at the forefront of airline innovation.”

3D printing is an essential step towards the sustainable future of aviation, as the printers can produce parts that, while as strong and durable as traditional components, weigh up to 55 per cent. Every kilogram removed saves up to 25 tons of CO2 emissions during the lifespan of an aircraft.

Watch a time-lapse of a model of the airline’s A350 being printed

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British Airways’ exploration of 3D printing follows the airline’s BA2119: Flight of the Future programme in celebration of it’s centenary. It’s research into the future of the customer experience suggested that within the next decade, biological scanners gathering travellers’ physiological and nutritional needs could suggest food and drink to meet individual requirements and print these on board the aircraft. In addition, the research predicts that jet lag could become be a thing of the past, with 3D printers producing personalised health supplements.

British Airways’ top ten predictions for how 3D printing could be used by airline’s in the future:

1.                   Cutlery

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2.                   Products for amenity kits, such as toothbrushes or combs

3.                   Tray tables

4.                   Aircraft windows

5.                   Inflight entertainment screens

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6.                   Seats

7.                   Baggage containers

8.                   Circuit boards for electrical components

9.                   Flight deck switches

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10.                 Aircraft shells

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Aviation

Sneak Peek Inside the Qatar Airways’ Qsuite Next Gen at Farnborough Airshow

Sneak Peek Inside the Qatar Airways' Qsuite Next Gen at Farnborough Airshow

As the Farnborough International Airshow 2024 unfolds, one of the most anticipated highlights has arrived: Qatar Airways’ unveiling of its Innovative Qsuite Next Gen.

This preview offers a tantalizing glimpse into the future of luxury travel, showcasing the next evolution of Qatar Airways’ renowned Qsuite. Known for setting the standard in premium cabin experiences, the new Qsuite promises to redefine business class comfort with cutting-edge design and technology.

Building on the success of its pioneering Qsuite, which redefined business class with its door-equipped suites, Qatar Airways’ new generation of Qsuite is poised to elevate the standard even further.

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The original Qsuite revolutionized long-haul travel by introducing a business class seat with a door, making privacy and comfort a new standard in the industry. Now, with the Qsuite Next Gen,

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A standout feature of the Qsuite Next Gen is its redesigned Quad Suite, which is equipped with movable 4K OLED Panasonic Astrova IFE screens—a world-first for any airline. These state-of-the-art screens can be repositioned to the side, creating the largest social and productivity space in the sky.

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This setup allows for up to four passengers to enjoy a spacious and flexible environment in the Quad Suite, while the Companion Suite accommodates up to two passengers.

The Qsuite Next Gen will be introduced on Qatar Airways’ Boeing B777-9 aircraft starting in 2025. This new suite configuration not only includes innovative window dual suites but also features a unique combination of quad, duo, and companion suites, each designed with the latest technologies for increased passenger convenience and connectivity.

Customization options are abundant, with enhanced ambient lighting, privacy controls, and upgraded touchscreen Passenger Control Units that offer a more personalized experience.

One notable change in the Qsuite Next Gen is the integration of the TV screens into the suite’s barrier system. Instead of traditional dividers that need to be lowered, these screens serve as part of the barrier and can be folded away when not in use.

However, Qatar Airways has confirmed that these advanced seats will not be retrofitted onto older aircraft. As Qatar Airways continues to evolve its fleet, the airline is focusing on reducing the number of non-Qatar-branded leased aircraft and phasing out the oldest models.

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With the Airbus A350 back in service and a commitment to modernizing its fleet, Qatar Airways is well-positioned to enhance its business class offering and deliver an unparalleled travel experience.

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