3D printers to be used in British Airways for creating aircraft cabin parts

British Airways is looking out for the chances of using 3D printers to create non-essential aircraft cabin parts and other parts in the future.

These printers would be placed at airports across the globe to minimise delays for clients and emissions caused by transporting products, British Airways shared in a statement.

The airline’s innovators foresee that non-essential cabin parts will be first on the list to be made, including parts of tray tables, entertainment systems and toilets.

“While these components do not impact the safe operation of the flight, they can reduce the number of seats or toilets available for customers and cause delays as engineers wait for the parts to be flown to wherever the aircraft is,” the statement informed.

Ricardo Vidal, head of innovation, British Airways, shared that this area of technology has never been more essential to secure sustainability and a seamless travel experience.

“We work with start-ups and innovation partners from around the world to explore and implement the very latest technologies, from artificial intelligence to speed up turnaround times to biometrics, helping us to deliver a seamless airport experience for customers,” he said.

“3D printing is yet another advancement that will keep us at the forefront of airline innovation,” he added.

3D printing has been considered as a key step towards the sustainable future of aviation, as the printers can manufacture parts that, while as strong and long-lasting as traditional pieces, weigh up to 55%.

It is predicted that every kilogram detached saves up to 25 tons of CO2 emissions in the duration of an aircraft’s life. The aim to utilise 3D printing follows the airline’s BA2119: Flight of the Future initiative in celebration of it’s centenary.

It’s study into the future of the consumer experience recommended that over next 10 years, biological scanners gathering travellers’ physiological and nutritional needs could suggest food and drink to meet individual requirements and print these on board the aircraft.

In addition, the research forecasts that jet lag could become be a thing of the past, with 3D printers producing personalised health supplements for passengers.

British Airways’ top ten predictions for how 3D printing could be used by airline’s in the future are Cutlery; Products for amenity kits, such as toothbrushes or combs; Tray tables; Aircraft windows; Inflight entertainment screens; Seats; Baggage containers; Circuit boards for electrical components; Flight deck switches and Aircraft shells.


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