British Airways’ tech experts say 3D printers could transform the aviation industry as machines could create aircraft parts, reducing delays for customers
British Airways may use 3D printers to create aircraft parts in future. These printers would be located at airports around the world to reduce emissions caused by transporting items.
Non-essential cabin parts would be first on the list to be generated, including tray table components, entertainment systems, and toilets.
Ricardo Vidal, Head of Innovation at British Airways predicted 3D printing would keep the airline at the forefront of innovation and a seamless travel experience.
It (3D printing) was an essential step towards the sustainable future of aviation, as the printers could produce parts that, ‟while as strong and durable as traditional components, weighed up to 55 per cent less. Every kilogram removed saves up to 25 tons of CO2 emissions during the lifespan of an aircraft.”
Watch a time-lapse of a model of the airline’s A350 being printed here.
The airline’s BA2119: Flight of the Future programme suggested that within the next decade, biological scanners could suggest and print individual nutrition requirements onboard the aircraft. In addition, jet lag could become be a thing of the past, with 3D printers producing personalised health supplements.
British Airways 10 3D printing predictions
- Products for amenity kits, such as toothbrushes or combs
- Tray tables
- Aircraft windows
- Inflight entertainment screens
- Baggage containers
- Circuit boards for electrical components
- Flight deck switches
- Aircraft shells