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Air France-KLM’s radical new plane design could change the way the world flies

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The aviation industry’s profit margins have been reduced to the bare minimum over the past two decades, and commercial air travel now contributes 2.5% of all global CO2 emissions. In short, we really need to start thinking differently when it comes to airplane design.

That’s the idea behind the Flying-V, an aircraft design that promises 20% fuel savings compared to the Airbus A350–thanks to the laws of physics. That’s the main reason why Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM is going to fund the development of this concept. KLM relies on the Boeing 787, the U.S. competitor to the A350, which is the airplane that Air France flies. In the cutthroat commercial flight industry, where every pound of fuel counts toward the profit line and entire fleets are renewed for a 2% fuel saving, 20% could mean an incredible competitive advantage.

It marks the very first time that any airline has pledged to fund the development of a prototype of a radically new design (or not so new, as we’ll see later). The airline will collaborate with the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands to create a functional, scaled-down prototype by October 2019. The prototype will be used to test the flight characteristics of existing computer models.

The aircraft was initially an idea by TU Berlin student Justus Benad, who developed the concept during his thesis studies........

© Fast Company