French aircraft-maker Airbus has come up with a new way to shave off turnaround time between flights: detachable cargo compartments. The US patent office released details of the removable cabins, which could be swapped in and out of an aircraft to increase efficiency for boarding passengers. The concept would also allow planes to fly more frequently, with less time sitting and waiting on the ground.
The plans preview how passengers could board a detached cabin from a docking station in advance of a plane's arrival. Passengers would then be able to seat themselves while ground crews store their luggage, reducing processing time all around. Once the empty aircraft arrives in the terminal, the fully-loaded cabin container would be lowered into the plane, firmly locking into place before the plane takes flight.
Once the flight lands at its destination, it pulls into a new gate at the airport, where the removable cabin would detach and be lifted up into a docking station. The plane would quickly be prepared by ground crews to take on a new cabin of passengers.