Airbus Granted Patent to Build Airplane Cabins Out of Steel Shipping Containers


airplane interiorAirbus is known for their often-ambitious design process, and they are now planning on revolutionizing the way passengers board their planes by seating them in detachable steel shipping containers.

According to Stuff New Zealand, the French aircraft manufacturer has been granted a patent that would allow them to seat passengers long before their plane even arrives. In the proposed design, a giant container pod holding the passengers would be lowered into the plane upon arrival and fixed into place, drastically expediting the boarding process.

The company is describing the idea as the “aircraft pod concept.” Its end goal is to eliminate the need for planes to immobilize on runways for extended periods before taking off, which increases flight time and costs airplane operators more money in general.

“The period of immobilization on the ground of the aeroplanes between two successive flights increases their operational cost. Indeed, the longer this period of immobilization, the less actual flight time of each aeroplane,” Airbus said in its patent filing.

Airbus isn’t the first company that has used steel shipping containers to grow their business. They’re being used for much more than global seaborne trade these days, and businesses around the world are beginning to take advantage of the endless ways to customize them.

“There are many used containers available at a low cost when compared to a finished structure built by other labor-intensive means, which also require larger more expensive foundations,” says Karen Sweeney, Director of Sales, Integrated Equipment Sales. “Since shipping containers require only simple modification with less labor than traditional buildings, they are being utilized more and more throughout the world to construct living complexes, pop-up stores, and shelters.”

According to AZ Central, developers in Phoenix recently unveiled a sustainable housing project made entirely of custom containers. The apartment complex is the first of its kind, offering eight separate 740-square-foot units made from 16 decommissioned steel shipping containers.

As for Airbus, their patent was just approved by the United States Patent and Trademark office last month after being filed in Feb. 2013. While the idea is promising, passengers will have to wait a little longer to be hoisted onto their next flight in a shipping container.

The patent would require airports to install docking stations and other equipment to make the idea possible, which will take a considerable amount of time, money, and effort. Airbus is also working on an idea to put a mezzanine level on cabins, which would “stack” passengers on top of each other, resembling a multi-tiered sleeper train.

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