This year, at Milan airport, for their innovation day, easyJet, the British low-cost airline, showed that they had entered the third dimension, by use of augmented reality glasses. Slightly more bulky than conventional glasses, they place you within a virtual 3D environment on board one of the company’s aircraft; something which is of high practical interest to easyJet. Gary Smith, Head of Powerplant and Transition, easyJet: " When we are training crew and engineers about where the location of certain equipment is on the aircraft, safety equipment, this will enable them to learn more effectively in a classroom environment. At the moment when you’re doing it on paper, from books, etc… it’s not as effective as being able to imagine you were there in real life."
At present under development, the use of these augmented reality glasses will probably be in use at easyJet within the next two years, and may also be used for the training of engine maintenance engineers. 3D printing is also on everyone’s lips and for good reason. With this new technology the British company intends to make substantial savings on replacement of some plastic or metal cabin components. Ian Davies, Head of Engineering, easyJet: "This is a 3D printed part, this is an arm cap. This arm cap is printed so that we can make the moulds to be able to go and produce these in large volumes. A part like this to produce will be a quarter of the cost of the production unit. And we get them much quicker as well." With 3D printers, easyJet will soon have no need to stock countless spare parts, and the experiments they are already conducting in this area should allow them to benefit from this new technology by 2017.