Windowless planes? Emirates chief reveals vision for aircraft with 'virtual' portholes

Emirates President Sir Tim Clark said the long term goal was to have windowless planes. Source ReutersMore

Removing windows would reduce safety concerns by eliminating structural weaknesses, and would allow planes to fly faster and higher, and burn less fuel.

The virtual windows can be seen in the first class cabin of Emirates' newest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

With only six seats in a 1-1-1 configuration, the layout means each passenger has their own 40sq ft private, fully enclosed suite.

Windows on commercial aircraft have always seemed a bit pointless to me.

Emirates president Tim Clark has been talking about virtual windows in an interview with the BBC.

Sir Tim told the BBC that the ultimate aim was to have planes with no windows at all.

Meanwhile, aviation expert John Strickland said having no windows would make aircraft more structurally sound.

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While a windowless plane might look odd from the outside, those in the cabin could be looking at what appears to be a window but instead shows vivid scenes projected from the outside of the aircraft using fiber-optic cameras.

"A light aircraft Flyer, named after the first aircraft of the Wright brothers, is a single float multirotor with 10 rotors".

However, the Professor of the British University in Cranfield Graham Braithwaite is convinced that planes with no Windows can be risky, because flight attendants in emergency situations, you must see with your own eyes what is happening behind.

"Flight attendants would need to check outside the aircraft in an emergency, for example for fire, before opening a door and commencing an evacuation - and anything that needed power to do this may not be easy to get certified by an aviation safety regulator".

Of course while there may not be safety issues, there is passenger concerns with claustrophobia being the most obvious.

"The refresh rate of screen technology may also have some undesirable side effects - will they flicker?"

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