An Overview of 2018 From the Skies
With technological disruption and new ideas, the airline industry is always innovating. As 2018 comes to a close, we wanted to take a look at some of these advancements and what they may mean for 2019.
Longer Flight Routes Now Available
Many pilots are familiar with 12-hour flights. Some have even flown for longer on oversea flights. However, very few pilots know what it is like to fly for 17-hours straight. This may change in the upcoming year.
Qantas, an Australian airline, established a direct flight from Perth, Australia to London, UK. Although the 17-hour flight does not go to North America, it is worth mentioning. Before the update, the same journey extended over four days and included no less than 10 stopovers.
Qantas is not the only airline establishing lengthy flights either. Singapore Airlines reinitialized their 17-hour flight this year. Dubbed flight SQ22, the route is a direct flight from Singapore to New York.
Airbus’ Airplane Innovation
For pilots, having a comfortable place to sleep is mandatory on long flights. Airbus wants to extend this same principle to passengers as well. The aircraft manufacturer revealed their airplane beds this year at the Aircraft Interiors Expo.
Each of these passenger beds will be located in the cargo hold. If you fly Airbus A330s, be on the lookout for passenger beds when they become available in the next few years.
Airbus also completed their A330-900neo test flights the past few months. This extra wide aircraft has quite a few enhancements, such as new engine specs and a remodeled interior.
The new aircraft equipped predominantly curved wings to compliment these new additions and girth. These exterior features will reduce wind resistance and improve overall fuel consumption.
Boeing 777 Alterations
The first aircraft with a windowless first-class suite now exists. Emirates debuted the Boeing 777-300ER this year. And the interior design is nothing shy of fancy. Instead of real windows, the private suite has virtual panes that use fiber optics to create a view.
The X version of the Boeing is set to make its first flight next year. This new aircraft is making waves thanks to its novel wing folding system. The foldable wings are designed to make it possible for the plane to comfortably glide through airport gates despite its large size.
There’s even a business version of the craft. Named the BBJ 777X, Boeing designed this airplane exclusively for elite travelers. This version can fly nonstop between any 2 airports, regardless of their location.
Biometric airports, aka facial recognition terminals, are making travel a bit faster. At least, that’s what the reports are showing from Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. With a 98% success rate, we may see the technology being used more often in the near future.
Continental pilots may being flying to China more at the end of 2019. The country’s new mega-hub, dubbed Beijing Daxing International Airport, is set to open September of next year. The airline hub features a total of four runways as well as a massive terminal. And by massive, we mean roughly 9700 meters or about 6 miles.