Cabin of the Future?

A Silicon Valley-based subsidiary of Airbus is working on a project called Transpose to produce a modular aircraft cabin. The company, A3, is working on a concept that involves creating interchangeable interiors that will enable an aircraft to be reconfigured quickly. A3 claims the concept is “a clean-sheet rethinking of aircraft cabin architecture and passenger experience possibilities”.

In a blog post, A3 Project Executive Jason Chua noted that modular cabins already exist in freighter variants of airliners. He said that A3 is using this as a starting point, with the intention to “redesign passenger support systems from the ground up to be more flexible, enabling them to be connected and disconnected easily from aircraft”. The idea is that by making cabins interchangeable, future interiors would be highly customisable and even allow the possibility to change interiors as frequently as after every flight. A3 claims Transpose could mean aircraft manufacturers will be able to deliver finished aircraft more quickly, as interiors “could be developed on a parallel timetable with the core fabrication of the aircraft itself”. It also claims Transpose might simplify the job of aircraft interiors suppliers by providing “a set of streamlined module design rules”.

Conceptual cutaway of a Transpose-enabled aircraft, loaded with modular passenger experiences. A3

A3 is now studying the technical feasibility of building and operating a modular cabin system, validating passenger enthusiasm for “the new in-flight experiences this makes possible”, and working on the business case. Chua said the company hopes to have “Transpose-enabled aircraft flying within a few years”. A3 is working with Airbus Group engineers in industrial design, cabin and airframe engineering.

Mark Broadbent