Akka Technologies, a French engineering firm, pitched a futurist concept for a train-plane vehicle to Boeing and others last month at the Paris Air Show, according to Bloomberg News. Passengers would board a pod at a local train station, according to Akka CEO Maurice Ricci, then at the airport, a cockpit and wings would be added to the pod and it would take off as usual. Passenger screening and security procedures could be completed during the ride to the airport, and the system would bypass or simplify many of the usual travel chores, such as dealing with luggage and parking. Ricci said potential customers in Asia have expressed interest in the design, but declined to name any specific companies.
The Akka link-and-fly concept is about the size of an Airbus A320, and would carry up to 162 passengers on short-range flights. The seats also could be removed for conversion to freight hauling. “Planes need to become more efficient, less polluting and less noisy,” said Ricci. “Our role is to point our customers to technologies of the future.” The company has created a video mock-up to promote the idea.