Sustainability Sets to Take off with KLM Royal Dutch Airline’s Flying-V Concept

The KLM Royal Dutch Airline’s Flying-V concept aircraft is the international airliner’s vision of a more sustainable future for aviation, addressing a growing concern about the global environmental impact of air travel.

The original Flying-V concept was envisioned by then Technical University of Berlin student, Justus Benad, before being developed by researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

Despite its unorthodox, but aerodynamic V-shaped design, the Flying-V is comparable to today’s most advanced aircraft, the Airbus A350, sharing the same wingspan as its existing and operating counterpart, and intentional choice to enable the Flying-V to use existing infrastructure at airports, such as gates and runways, without difficulty and the aircraft will also fit into the same hangar as the A350. And despite being shorter than the A350, the Flying-V’s passenger capacity is the same – 314 in the standard configuration – offering the same volume of cargo, 160m3.

Image: Edwin Wallet, OSO Studio

The aircraft’s V-shape results in an “all-wings” design, consolidating the passenger cabin, the cargo hold and the fuel tanks, with fuel-efficient turbofan engines sitting over the fuselage, reducing weight and improving aerodynamics. The unusual configuration conceived in partnership with the Delft University of Technology uses 20% less fuel than the Airbus A350, today’s most advanced aircraft.

The Flying-V is currently a concept only, one speculated with a takeoff date sometime between 2040 and 2050. But this October KLM plans to unveil a flying scale model and a full-size section of the interior during the KLM Experience Days at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to celebrate the Dutch airliner’s 100th anniversary.