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Emirates tests planes without windows

But will flights with no windows be safe for passengers, especially in cases of emergency?

Another mainstay of the airline industry may be jettisoned in the ongoing campaign to make flights more fuel efficient, helping the environment a little, while also cutting costs.

Emirates is the first airline to test flights replacing the heavy windows throughout the cabin on its aircraft with virtual ones, making planes faster and cheaper to operate.

The ‘virtual windows’ work by real-time images being projected onto the inside of the cabin using cameras, TTG reports. These have already been installed in a first-class suite on a Boeing 777-300ER, as revealed at the Arabian Travel Market in April.

“The aircraft are lighter, the aircraft could fly faster, they’ll burn far less fuel and fly higher,” Sir Tim Clark, Emirates’ chairman, explained to the broadcaster the BBC.

“Imagine now a fuselage as you’re boarding with no windows, but when you get inside there are windows. Now you have one fuselage that has no structural weaknesses because of windows.”

Emergency situations
However, although the idea of windowless planes is nothing new, concerns have been raised about safety by Professor Graham Braithwaite, director of transport systems at Cranfield University, who said regulators may not allow the development.

“Being able to see outside the aircraft in an emergency is important, especially if an emergency evacuation has to take place,” he told the BBC.

Some passengers may object to the idea, he added. “An aircraft could be very claustrophobic and for many, air travel is anxiety-inducing already.”

Many airlines have innovated in recent years to try and bring down the weight of aircraft, including removing inflight entertainment screens.

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