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Future Aircraft design following the carrier-pod concept as an eNabler for co-modal seamless Transport, pAssenger Safety and environmental SustainabilitY

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€730 755
EU Contribution
€560 750
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS
Background & Policy context

Aviation has dramatically transformed society over the past 100 years. Fast and efficient transportation has essentially been shrinking the planet and changing the landscape in terms of financial and societal conditions. The growth of air traffic over the past 50 years has been spectacular, and will continue in the future. This anticipated growth carries along challenges and opportunities in various aspects of life, from economics to the environment. Research must meet these emerging challenges by producing concepts and breakthrough technological achievements in air transport.

Currently, one of the most challenging areas of aeronautical research is the air-vehicle itself, mainly in what concerns its form and operation. Passenger aircrafts have kept more or less the same basic design since the 40's. Several improvements have been introduced since then (composite materials for the main load bearing structure of the aircraft e.g. A350, B787) but none of them had altered the basic form of the aircraft or its main operation and handling.


For the air-transport of the future several pioneering ideas meant for introducing radical changes in the air-transport system have been proposed, requiring several innovations and individual technical challenges to be met towards their implementation.

An idea to be investigated within the frame of the proposed project is the design of the aircraft as a combination of a carrier and a passenger pod. The benefits from such a concept are multiple.

  • Inter-modal passenger transport
  • Increased flexibility in aircraft configuration and fleet management
  • Distributed airport facilities
  • Faster and easier passenger loading
  • Evacuation of the aircraft in case of an emergency


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
The European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)


Revolutionary aircraft design on the horizon

The idea of driverless pods for transporting passengers that could be moved from trains to aeroplanes is gaining ground and could redefine air transport as we know it.

Aircraft design has changed little since the 1960s, but radical new innovations are now on the horizon.

One of these is the pod concept, which enables passengers to board a plane as if they're boarding a metro wagon. The EU-funded project FANTASSY is working on such a concept to bring about seamless air transport, coupled with enhanced passenger safety and environmental protection. The project envisions a new aircraft design that combines a 'passenger pod' and a 'carrier' aircraft to receive it.

While the concept and its constituents may not be technologically feasible at this point, it is important to work on it in order to achieve a reliable prototype in two or three decades.

In this context, FANTASSY is evaluating the feasibility of the 'carrier aircraft–passenger pod' concept following a well-defined process.

More specifically, the project is outlining what the aircraft will look like and how it will function.

It is defining the air transport system required for seamless mobility and door-to-door services.

This involves in-depth investigation into technologies and materials currently under development that could be integrated into the modular aircraft design.

Considerations under study include propulsion systems and energy storage. So far, the project team has identified concepts and technologies that could be viable by 2050 or earlier.

These include concepts developed by NASA, Airbus and other key players in the industry.

FANTASSY has also completed a study on future aircraft configurations and other concepts available today in line with the project's vision.

In particular, the team proposed two preliminary pod and aircraft configurations: one that attaches the pods externally and one that accepts the pods internally.

It is now outlining critical performance parameters that will enable selection of the most promising solution. Benefits of such concepts include better intermodal passenger transport and cargo modules compatible with both rail and air transport modes.

The same pods could be transferred from the aircraft to a rail vehicle seamlessly, increasing passenger comfort and safety. Such a system would also enable passengers to enjoy distributed airport facilities away from the runway, for example at a railway station, and then be transported directly to the carrier aircraft by rail.

It would mean faster and easier passenger embarkation, increased flexibility in maintenance and easier evacuation in case of emergency.

This radical new take on aircraft transport could redefine air travel and make it much more comfortable than ever before.


Lead Organisation
Panepistimio Patron
University Campus- Rio, 26500 Patras, Greece
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€241 600
Partner Organisations
Inasco Hellas Etaireia Efarmosmenon Aerodiastimikon Epistimon Ee
Napoleontos Zerva 18, 16675 Glyfada Athina, Greece
EU Contribution
€98 900
Stichting Centrum Voor De Ontwikkeling Van Transport En Logistiek In Europa
Van Nelleweg 1, 3044 BC Rotterdam, Netherlands
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€186 900
Piaggio Aero Industries S.p.a
Viale Castro Pretorio 116, 185 ROMA, Italy
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€33 350


Technology Theme
Aircraft design and manufacturing
Aircraft as a combination of a carrier and a passenger pod
Development phase

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