Emirates Airline unveils new virtual windows for first class passengers

Removing windows from aircraft can make planes lighter and faster - could virtual windows be the solution?
Removing windows from aircraft can make planes lighter and faster - could virtual windows be the solution? Photo credit: BBC / screen-grab

Emirates Airline has unveiled new virtual windows for first class passengers on board its latest aircraft.

Traditional windows have been removed from the first class cabin of Emirates' newest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and replaced with images projected in from outside using fibre-optic cameras. 

Removing windows from aircraft can make them lighter and faster.

Emirates President Sir Tim Clark told BBC the airline aims to have planes with no windows at all in the future. 

He said the virtual windows have been "so good, it's better than with the natural eye."

"The aircraft are lighter, the aircraft could fly faster, they'll burn far less fuel and fly higher," Sir Tim Clark said. 

But not everyone is keen on the idea. 

Professor Graham Braithwaite of Cranfield University says it could be dangerous for cabin crew if they're unable to see outside the aircraft in an emergency. 

"Being able to see outside the aircraft in an emergency is important," he said, "especially if an emergency evacuation has to take place."

The European Aviation Safety Agency said it doesn't "see any specific challenge that could not be overcome to ensure a level of safety equivalent to the one of an aircraft fitted with cabin windows."

Passengers might also struggle to trust the technology, Professor Braithwaite said. 

"An aircraft could be very claustrophobic any for many, air travel is anxiety inducing already."

But aviation expert John Strickland says removing weight from an aircraft "is going to reduce fuel burn" which is both environmentally and economically beneficial. 

Newshub.