Catapult-assisted take-offs and free-glide landings are but two concepts that could become standard affair in the future of aviation.

A new report by European plane-maker Airbus, entitled “Smarter Skies”, floated the ideas as the company looks ahead to address how air travel could one day become more sustainable, reports Gizmag.com.

Flying in formation was another vision mooted by the company, as the air vortices from the wings of the lead craft help support those following behind, thus saving fuel. Formations would be determined by smart, predictive software, which would calculate the most fuel-efficient pathways and making flight tracking even easier.

One of the more out-there predictions by Airbus includes flying aircraft made entirely out of recycled materials, adds theregister.co.uk. Plane interiors will be made from vegetable matter which will self-clean and repair.

Airbus also says that biofuels could be used to power 30 per cent of flights by 2030, and 50 per cent of flights of 2050 – if airlines are given the right incentives. Solar power and fuel cell technology may also have a part to play.

Explaining the rationale behind the Smarter Skies report, Charles Champion, Airbus VP of engineering said: “Our engineers are continuously encouraged to think widely and come up with ‘disruptive’ ideas which will assist our industry in meeting the 2050 targets we have signed up to.”

“These and the other tough environmental targets will only be met by a combination of investment in smarter aircraft design and optimising the environment in which the aircraft operates. That is why our latest Future by Airbus Smarter Skies concepts focus on not just what we fly but, how we may fly in 2050 and beyond.”

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