With the launch of virtual windows in middle seats in First Class, Emirates’ president says he wants to eventually introduce airplanes with no real windows, where virtual windows replace the ability to directly see outside.
President Sir Tim Clark said that having windowless aircraft would result in a more structurally sound frame, while also making them lighter and faster as the same time.
Speaking with the BBC, Clark said that their present virtual windows which display a video feed of the outside surroundings via fiber-optic cameras, look “so good, it’s better than with the natural eye”.
“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.”
Safety experts are already cringing at the idea though. While the concept makes obvious sense from a weight savings and integrity point of view, many argue that passengers and crew members need to be able to see outside during an emergency. With more and more tech being jammed into today’s airplanes, an electrical issue could quickly render the windows useless should the plane lose power, making it a potential safety issue.
There are also concerns how passengers may feel given the perception towards these new virtual windows, especially from those who suffer from claustrophobia.
As an AVGeek myself, I feel like I could never really appreciate a screen over the real deal. Maybe the idea might eventually come to pass many years from now, but it’s definitely going to take getting used to.