A windowless plane might not sound like the most comfortable of voyages. But the president of Emirates Airlines, Tim Clark, seems determined to make it the future. Passengers would be able to see the outside world through projections from fiber-optic cameras that Clark tells the BBC would be “better than with the natural eye.”
Clark sees several advantages to a plane without windows. “Imagine now a fuselage as you’re boarding with no windows, but when you get inside, there are windows. Now you have one fuselage which has no structural weaknesses because of windows. The aircraft are lighter, the aircraft could fly faster, they’ll burn far less fuel and fly higher,” he says.
The airline, which is wholly owned by the government-run Investment Corporation of Dubai, has long been on the cutting-edge of technology in the skies. Last year, the airline introduced new first-class suites including “virtual windows” for seats in the middle aisle which projected views from outside the plane.
Of course, that sort of change would demand total confidence in the virtual windows. If they were to act up even for a moment, passengers might find themselves in the discomforting and claustrophobic situation of having no visibility with the outside world. Passengers wouldn’t necessarily be in danger, but it would be unnerving. And if a plane gets into an emergency situation, passengers would have a right to examine their outside conditions.
Even the expert contacted by the BBC had aesthetic reservations. While John Strickland told the network that removing windows could, potentially, improve fuel efficiency through a lighter fuselage and make a plane stronger on a structural level, he was reluctant to abandon the views.
“I’m a bit of a window obsessive. For me, artificial windows would be no substitute.”
Previously Published by: Popular Mechanics USA