Conor Moloney | Second Place
T.Y. John the Baptist Community School, Co. Limerick
The year is 2050. This essay will give you a guided tour of a typical airport of this era. When passengers arrive at the airport, their car is robotically driven to a parking space. This gives passengers a chance to exit their vehicle and proceed into the terminal while the vehicle is being parked. Of course, there is also the option of travelling to the airport by bus or by high-speed trains capable of reaching over 400kph. On entry to the terminal, robotic vehicles will offer to transport luggage to the gate. The baggage can be checked in by using a screen on the car. Passengers must then proceed to security. The security process is now faster and more accurate than ever. Passengers are scanned by large x-ray-like machines while holding their carry-on baggage. This means that passengers do not have to put their luggage in a separate device, which reduces queuing times and the risk of losing baggage.
After passing through security, passengers can use the duty-free zone. Robotic machines offer to transfer purchased items to the aircraft as check-in baggage. Passengers can eat in the several restaurants available in the duty-free area, or there is the option to have their food transferred to their seat on the aircraft, ready to enjoy in-flight. Express train service is available to move passengers to their gate. On arrival at the gate, passengers can avail themselves of the airport’s 7G Wi-Fi. There is also the option to do some plane spotting. There are many aircraft in use for enthusiasts to enjoy watching. Popular types nowadays include the Boeing 7107 and 7117, airbus a390, and of course the airbus a3100, often known as Concorde two, because of its ability to travel supersonically. The airport ground crew work meticulously to prepare the aircraft. Jobs such as baggage handling, refuelling and pushback are performed by robotic machines controlled by the ground crew staff, operating procedures from their control centre. After approximately five minutes, it is time to board the aircraft. Waiting times at gates have been drastically reduced over the years due to improvements in the speed at which the ground crew can operate, and better scheduling of aircraft arrivals and departures.
The aircraft that the passengers will be travelling on today is an airbus a3100 on a New York JFK airport service. The plane’s interior features an on-board restaurant, a cinema, several duty-free shops, hotel-like rooms and an astroturf pitch. The pilot announces that the aircraft will soon be departing. Of course, nowadays, the plane is computer-controlled. The pilots are simply there to monitor the flight and ensure that all goes to plan. Indeed, the cockpit can be viewed by the passengers from behind a screen of bulletproof glass. The plane takes off, and within moments, its water-powered jet turbine engines help it break the sound barrier and travel supersonically. Nowadays, aircraft are designed to very high safety standards and can land easily on the water and stay afloat in the unlikely event of an emergency. As previously mentioned, planes are no longer powered by environmentally damaging kerosene engines but water-powered jet engines. Due to its supersonic speed, the aircraft is approaching New York within two hours of take-off. Destinations such as the U.K., France and Germany are accessible from Ireland in less than an hour.
The aircraft touches down gently. The aircraft’s days hitting the ground violently are long gone, and passengers nowadays would barely notice as the plane crashes the runway. The aircraft’s speed brakes bring it to a gentle stop before taxiing to the gate. In today’s world, it is possible to get from the plane to the arrivals in less than ten minutes while still including customs checks. Passengers are then reunited with their baggage and duty-free items before making their way towards transport for their onward journey.