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Emirates looks to windowless planes

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Media captionEmirates Airline president Sir Tim Clark thinks the windowless plane is the future

Emirates Airline has unveiled a new First Class Suite on board its latest aircraft that features virtual windows.

Instead of being able to see directly outside, passengers view images projected in from outside the aircraft using fibre-optic cameras.

The airline says it paves the way for removing all windows from future planes, making them lighter and faster.

Emirates looks to windowless planes
Emirates looks to windowless planes

Airline president Sir Tim Clark said: “The quality of the imagery is so good, it’s better than with the natural eye.”

The virtual windows can be seen in the first class cabin of Emirates’ newest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Sir Tim told the BBC that the ultimate aim was to have planes with no windows at all.

“Imagine now a fuselage as you’re boarding with no windows, but when you get inside, there are windows,” he said.

“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.”

‘No substitute’

Aviation expert John Strickland said having no windows would certainly make the aircraft more structurally sound. It could also improve fuel efficiency if the fuselage were lighter than the windows it replaced.

“Everything that reduces weight on an aircraft is going to reduce fuel burn,” he said.

However, in terms of aesthetics, he said that personally he liked to be able to see directly out of a plane.

“I’m a bit of a window obsessive,” he said, adding that he always requested a window seat. “For me, artificial windows would be no substitute.”

He added that people “want to be able to look out and see skyscapes”.

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