The environmental impacts of air travel has become a growing global concern. The aviation industry is focused on producing faster planes that fly higher and provide more comfort for passengers, which may create the alarming potential to produce even more carbon emissions than ever before. Presented as a solution to the increasing need for more sustainable aviation options, KLM Royal Dutch Airline has revealed a design for its “Flying V” sustainable aircraft that will use 20% less fuel than the popular Airbus A350.

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At the 2019 IATA Annual General Meeting in Seoul, KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers and Dean of the Netherlands Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology Professor Henri Werij signed an agreement to work together on making aviation more sustainable. Though the design is only a concept at this point, the vision of the Technical University of Berlin and researchers at Delft, the Flying V is a monumental step towards sustainable aviation.

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With a unique aerodynamic shape, the plane’s design is shorter than the Airbus A350 (the most comparable aircraft), but with the same wingspan and the same passenger capacity. Because of this, the plane will fit easily into existing gates and runways, and fit in the same hanger as an A350. Everything from the plane bathrooms to the design of the passenger seats are as lightweight as possible for the safety and comfort of passengers. The signature v-shape wings will include the passenger cabins, the cargo (which will hold the same volume as the A350) and the fuel and the combination of a lightweight design with fuel-efficient turbofan engines makes it much more sustainable than other aircrafts. 

Attendees of KLM Experience Days at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to celebrate KLM’s 100th anniversary will have the chance to view a flying scale model and a full size section of the Flying V’s interior in October 2019.


Images by Edwin Wallet at OSO Studio for TU Delft