A600-850M, Finnair’s imaginary aircraft of 85 years in the future. The zero-emission supersonic plane, made of super-light nanoceramic material, has seats that adjust to passengers’ weight, height and age. / Courtesy of Finnair
By Kim Rahn
A trip to outer space for summer vacation. Three-hour travel time between Asia and Europe. Gliding above coastal cities on a low-altitude flight.
Such is the air travel envisioned in the book ``Departure 2093,'' published by Finnair on the occasion of the 85th anniversary of its foundation. The imagination may sound hollow ― but only about a century ago, people thought flying between continents was possible only in dreams.
The Finnish carrier, founded in 1923, is the oldest existing airline in the world. Commemorating its 85th anniversary, it chose to draw a picture of 85 years in the future instead of looking back at the past 85 years.
In ``Departure 2093,'' the airline says air travel will be more deeply involved in people's daily life and planes will be the most important means of transportation.
According to Finnair's forecast, the issues of food, water and transportation will make the aviation industry continue to grow ― to produce more food, roads will be turned into farm land, and flying will be considered a safer, faster and more convenient form of transportation than cars, given traffic congestion.
The environment will also be an important issue, as the aviation industry makes up 2 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Finnair has made efforts to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency, while the International Air Transport Association (IATA) aims for ``zero emission'' in the next 50 years.
Finnair has valued the environment for more than 10 years: it changed from paper tickets to electronic ones and offers a calculator on its Web site, which passengers can use to see how much carbon dioxide their flights emit, raising public awareness about environment protection.
IATA, Airbus, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and various other experts joined hands in creating the book, which presents some images of future aircraft.
One, the A600-850M, which can carry 600 to 850 passengers, is a zero-emission supersonic aircraft with a cruising speed of Mach 4.5. The fuselage is made of super-light nanoceramic material. Individual seats on the plane adjust to passengers' weight, height and age, and passengers can have their pulse, blood pressure and body temperature measured. Electricity in the cabin is generated by solar panels on the aircraft's surface.
The A1700-2400 Cruiser has producing engines designed for both gliding and vertical takeoff. In an emergency, it can land on water. It has cabins for four passengers, and each has its own toilet and shower. The aircraft has hologram theaters, restaurants, bars, meeting rooms and gyms. The central takeoff engine has three large smart parachutes, which report the location and image of the aircraft in emergencies and help the flight land safely.
More images are available at www.departure2093.com.