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Brief Published: 11 Jun 2019

KLM Designs V-Shaped Eco Planes


As explored in our latest Macro Trend report Ethical Travel's Mainstream Breakthrough, when it comes to sustainable tourism, the elephant in the room continues to be fuel-hungry air travel. Addressing this issue, Dutch airline KLM has reimagined the shape of the passenger aircraft.

Collaborating with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands, the airline has unveiled designs for a v-shaped plane, where passengers are seated inside the 'body' of the wings. The aircraft – dubbed the Flying V – has been designed for long-distance travel. Thanks to its improved aerodynamic shape and reduced weight, it uses 20% less fuel than the current most efficient design.

"Radically new and highly energy-efficient aircraft designs such as the Flying-V are important in this respect, as are new forms of propulsion," said professor Henri Werij, dean of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft. "Our ultimate aim is one of emission-free flight. Our co-operation with KLM offers a tremendous opportunity to bring about real change."

A full-sized section of the plane will be formally revealed at KLM Experience Day at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in September, to coincide with the airline's 100th anniversary.

Despite initiatives such as Flyskam (a popular no-fly movement gaining momentum in Sweden), the vast majority of global travellers will continue to travel by plane. This kind of innovation in the aircraft space is a vital component in ensuring that the travel industry contributes towards a sustainable future.

For more on how airlines are rethinking their eco approach, read Elastic Airlines.