Nowadays the aircraft market is as competitive as never before. Airlines are looking for modern planes, that have good passenger comfort. Also important for an airline is the reliability and profitability, and in recent years the environmental aspect also became increasingly important.
So what are the manufacturers paying attention to, to design a new plane?
I will show steps with the example of the A220, the most modern plane on the market at the moment.
The A220 is a short- to medium-haul aircraft, which was originally intended as a regional jet, but is totally sufficient for longer routes, too. It was designed by Bombardier Aerospace, had its first flight in September 2013, has two variants, the -100 and the larger -300, and with a max capacity of 135 or 160 passengers. The series experienced lots of problems until in 2017, Airbus bought the program. Since then the aircraft are named Airbus A220-x instead of Bombardier C-Series.
The aircraft actually shows a lot of aspects where airlines can improve their planes.
That’s not exactly a point where aircraft manufacturers can influence the aircraft too much since most engines are designed by third-party companies and not the aircraft manufacturer itself.
However the manufacturer can choose the engine, they want to be on their plane and therefore also influence this part. In the case of the A220, the engines play a big role in his efficiency. It uses the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G. The engine entered service in 2016. Since then it accumulated 8000 orders already. But why is it so popular? This engine uses a revolutionary design, which allows for a 12:1 bypass ratio, making it one of the most efficient turbines in the world. Besides that, it offers additional benefits such as 75% noise reduction, 50% NOx emission reduction, and 14% less kerosene consumption. As you can see engines play a huge role in making an aircraft more eco-friendly and economical. The Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engine is also used on aircraft like the A320neo and the Embraer E-Jet.
2. Passenger experience
Nowadays passenger comfort may be a deal-breaker for some passengers, and therefore aircraft are designed for passenger comfort as much as possible, while of course still being profitable in the current economy.
If we again take the example of the A220, you can see some developments in that regard. Often passengers enjoy windows a lot, and therefore the A220 has unrivaled big windows and even more per row than other aircraft.
Here is a comparison:
The aircraft also features lighting that simulates sunrises for example and therefore makes the passenger comfortable.
The A220 also features screens and onboard entertainment, as well as some of the widest seats on a narrowbody aircraft. Additionally, the aircraft has a 2-3 configuration, compared to other planes having a 3-3 configuration, while having about the same width of the cabin. This makes the A220 have the most space per seat in the market segment of medium to short-haul routes.
The bathrooms are obviously also to the highest standard.
Besides that, the A220s are famous for their language compartments, which are also unrivaled in this market segment and allow for bigger baggage to be stored.
All this results in high ratings from passengers for the airplane. In its market, the aircraft gets by far the best ratings from passengers!
After all you can definitely see where the trend goes.
3. Exterior Design
In order to be more efficient, planes should also be lighter. Today this is achieved by using composite materials. This is a mixture of different materials in order to create the most efficient one. A widely known example is Carbon fibre.
By doing that, aircraft get a lot lighter, while being cheaper and stronger.
Other things a manufacturer can play around is the wing shape and winglets, in order to further optimize the aircraft.
This is a very controversial point in the avgeek community since some of the advancements are reducing the effort and skill the pilot needs to fly an aircraft.
After all there is still the trend of simplifying the aircraft and supporting the pilots even more.
Planes are more and more assisted by software, which helps the pilots navigate and avoid mistakes by the pilots.
Cockpits also feature bigger screens, to make the controls better visible. The screens are widely loved by pilots, and make it more comfortable for pilots to fly.
With the A220 there is also a new plane featuring Fly-by-wire.
After all, you can see where the options of manufacturers are when designing a new and better aircraft. Of course, there are a lot more ways, but I wanted to touch on the most common ones.
I hope you could learn something new!
If you want a plane combining all this vote for the A220 here: Vote for Infinite Flight's Next Aircraft - 2020 Edition!