Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to more than 2.5 percent of the world’s total carbon footprint. In an attempt to make a dent in this carbon-heavy industry, researchers from Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) have teamed up with Dutch airline company KLM to work together on making aviation more sustainable. KLM will be contributing towards TU Delft’s research into an innovative flight concept known as the “Flying-V”, which embraces an entirely different approach to aircraft design, in anticipation and support of sustainable long-distance flight in the future.

The airplane’s futuristic design incorporates the passenger cabin, fuel tanks and cargo hold into the wings. It’s claimed the plane will use 20% less fuel than today’s most advanced aircraft, the Airbus A350, while carrying a similar number of passengers. The design also mirrors the A350’s 65-meter wingspan, enabling it to use existing airport infrastructure.

The researchers hope to fly a scale model this September, while a mock-up of the new cabin design will be open to the public at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport in October as part of KLM’s 100th-anniversary celebrations. The completed plane is expected to enter service between 2040 and 2050.