Airbus has revealed a series of designs that would transform aircraft cargo compartments into passenger sleeping quarters, complete with bunk-beds and meeting rooms.
Created alongside French company Zodiac Aerospace, the concepts would see the lower decks of planes – more commonly used for cargo – become sleeping berths.
This would be achieved through the use of bunk-bed modules. Each of these modules could be swapped out to make room for cargo compartments, giving airlines more flexibility in where they allocate passengers seats and space.
According to Airbus, the sleeping cabins could be introduced on A330 aircraft as soon as 2020. The two companies are also looking into solutions for the larger A350.
"This approach to commercial air travel is a step change towards passenger comfort," said Geoff Pinner, head of Airbus' Cabin and Cargo programme.
"We have already received very positive feedback from several airlines on our first mock-ups," he continued. "We are pleased to partner with Zodiac Aerospace on this project which will introduce a new passenger experience and add value for airlines."
Christophe Bernardini, chief executive officer of Zodiac Aerospace Cabin Branch, said the project would offer an "improved passenger experience" that would become a "key element of differentiation for airlines".
Passengers would enter through a "welcome module", where they would be greeted at a reception desk. This would lead through to the "flexible area", which could be used as a playroom for children, or as a workspace.
A further "meeting room module" would feature seating and desks to accommodate working get-togethers. A projector would allow passengers to conduct presentations, or even watch films on a big screen.
Lastly is the sleeping quarters, which Airbus refers to as the "bunks module". Here, passengers could sleep in a single bed, with space for clothes and toiletries also provided.
Not all modules would have to be used at the same time. Each could be inserted separately, depending on the needs of the passengers or airline.
This isn't the first time Airbus has come up with an alternative to standard passenger seating.
Previously, the company filed a patent for a detachable passenger cabin designed to speed up embarkation and also revealed a concept for a transparent cabin complete with a virtual golf course.
Images courtesy of Airbus.