The Dreamliner has been sporting dimmable windows for many years. Airbus opposed the technology and called it immature. That has changed.
It’s actually just a detail. But it was a novelty that made people talk. When Boeing unveiled the Dreamliner in 2004, the windows of the new long-haul aircraft got a lot of coverage. The blinds are gone, the windows can be darkened electronically. So far, this feature has not been available on any other large commercial aircraft.
Although Airbus declared as early as 2013 that dimmable windows would also be available for the A350, the new windows are not yet available for the A350. But the European aircraft manufacturer called the technology far too immature at the time. Passengers sometimes complain that the windows in Dreamliners cannot be completely darkened in sunshine. That’s why Boeing’s competitor was still waiting.
Option on the Airbus A350…
Now the waiting period is over. The American technology company Gentex reports that Airbus will offer its technology in its aircraft in the future. The aircraft manufacturer does not yet want to reveal any details, but confirms that dimmable windows will be offered in the Airbus A350. «This will be an option», an Airbus spokesman told aeroTELEGRAPH.
Airbus emphasizes that the technology is different from that used in the Boeing 787. «The windows will block 99.999 percent of the light,» the Airbus spokesman said. Gentext explains that the darkening technology developed in collaboration with the aircraft manufacturer is twice as fast and 100 times more powerful than previous applications.
… and also with other models?
Not only are the dimmable windows for Airbus jets supposed to be better, they are also supposed to cause less repair work. They are «mechanically simpler than today’s blinds because you don’t need a physical closing mechanism,» says the Airbus spokesman. According to Gentex, they can be replaced in a single step.
The dimmable windows will be available at Airbus «in the near future,» as they say. Airbus does not yet want to reveal whether they will only be available for the A350 or also for other models. More details are suppposed to be available at the end of March.
Heated gel makes the difference
With the dimmable windows, airlines can also reduce the strain on flight attendants. They can darken and light up the entire cabin in one swoop – for example, when night falls or when a landing is imminent. The walk through the cabin to close or open the blinds is no longer necessary.
In the dimmable windows, a thin layer of gel is built in between two panes. When it is heated, the window darkens. The process is triggered by an electronic signal from the seat or by the crew.
Also in the Boeing 777X
Two days after the announcement that Airbus would work with Gentex technology, the company announced that Boeing would soon be among its customers. Dimmable windows are also to be installed in the 777X.