Twenty Thirty Musings – 1

There is this ole song ‘In the year twenty five twenty five’…

The lyrics begin…

“In the year twenty five twenty five
If man is still alive
If woman can survive…”

2525 AD is a far way to go. How about some musings about 2030? That’s around the corner all right.

Shall we ‘take off’ with the musings?

Last few years in India has changed the face of air travel. Airports are simply bursting at the seams. Long queues to enter the airport, at the check-in counters, and at the security-check points are routine. And when you get past all this, into the ‘please await the boarding call’ area of the airport, the place is often so crowded that one does not find a place to sit. And the flight is usually delayed due to ATC. (A few years ago, the term ‘ATC’ meant only one thing – ‘Air Traffic Control’. Now a new phenomenon has taken over this acronym – ‘Air Traffic Congestion’).

The fact of the matter is that air traffic is now becoming mass transport. What the railways and roadways struggle with today, the airways will struggle with before day-after-tomorrow. Today, with over six hundred flights per week between Mumbai and Delhi, this route features as one of the ten busiest routes in the world. And pundits are predicting that soon, more Indian routes will figure in that bracket. Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad will figure right up there…

So what will it look like in 2030 and beyond?

Will airplane designs be radically different? Will a plane be able to accommodate as many passengers as, say, the Grand Trunk Express? Take the cinema theatres, for eg. Twenty five years ago, theatres were crowded places, where you sit in closely packed seats, and step out once during the interval, to smoke filled lobbies and jostle through crowds to grab a popcorn and a coke. Not any more. The theatre is a plush experience, with shopping, lounges and stuff. Will the fuselage of the future be a bigger version of what it is now, or will it transform into a new theatre altogether?

More musings…

Can we sustain such traffic with existing airport processes? How many airports will be there in each large city? Will it be one or two or will there be a new model, which has many feeder airports in different parts of the city? Will there be new technologies, and new fuels, that make cost of travel a fraction of what it is now? Will aircraft technology be ‘green’? Will small aircrafts replace the current bus systems, and even cars? Can one fly to work or to shop, from the suburb to the city center? Will there be personal aircrafts that has a relative cost about as much as what a motorcycle costs today? What do you think?

Ho Hum….

In the year Twenty – Fifty five,
What will be left of the sky?
Where, O where, will all the birds fly?

6 Responses to “Twenty Thirty Musings – 1”

  1. Srinivasa Says:

    Here’s a suggestion for relieving congestion in airports and in particular, in the Chennai-Delhi route.

    They should construct a 100′ superroadway parallel to the runway. We can have people canvassing for flights viz., Safdarjung, Safdarjung or (for Krishashok) Munirka, Munirka etc etc.

    Statistical studies have shown that a majority of passengers to Delhi carry only a briefcase, presumably containing payoff’s.

    We should reform the Banking system so that they can execute these payments using the official banking system.

    Otherwise we can also promote a intra-city havala system so that needless luggage carrying between cities and the consequent costs of security checks, can be avoided.

    For technology passengers carrying their eminently forgettable presentations in khatara laptops, we should have kiosks in the airports and in prominent places like Connaught Place, Sarojini Nagar Market, Lodhi Road etc which will permit downloads of such personal artifacts (of no use to anybody else) onto flash memories. Incidentally, they should USB flash memories in all the Banarasi Pan stalls.

    Dhanyavaad aur Namaskar

  2. bala Says:

    year 2025-2030: it is hard to fathom what life would be considering the changes in the world in our generation with globalization and explosion of the internet. Our parents generation has seen it all from the days of the freedom struggle, to life without power (those of you in Indis still get to experience that on a regular basis) to the modern age of technology internet, mobile connectivity and such.
    I think for India infrastructure expansion is the key to sustain the 7-8% growth rate. Living in the US for over 20 years with the Eisenhower freeway system and the airline industry travel has not been an issue. While that may be true, it needs to be recognized that infrastructure is the most neglected areas with roads ageing, bridges under a state of disrepair ( the Minneapolis bridge collapse is only one such example). US has not built any new power plants in almost 30 years and I think this will start to hurt the economy in the next two decades.Throw in oil prices in the mix and you dont have a very rosy picture.

    As more and more middle class families accept and can afford airline travel as a quick means of transport ( it still is not accessible for a majority of the population), I feel that the road and rail infrastructure needs to be improved and at least in the key routes, fast car traffic is the way to go. Imagine going from Chennai to bangalore by air ( it probably could take as much or more time to fly (with all the waiting, security etc) than flying down a highway at 100+ km/hr (without having to deal with slower traffic like bullocak carts etc.. I esperience this regularly here post 9/11 where I would rather drive for 6-7 hrs straight than try to fly which takes the same time or more.

    As for as the airports are concerned even with huge airports where you can virtually conduct business with cell phones, internet access, choice of food, shopping etc. it does take a lot of out of trveling by air. I hope all the new airports being planned in cities such as Bangalore cosider 2025 before they build and understand that it defeats the purpose if you have to wade through traffic for 2 hours just to get to the airport..India will also see an explosion of the private aircraft industry considering that the rich are filthy rich and will resort more and more to private travel

    But as an optimist the human race comes up with breathrough technologies every 20-30 years that chanes the way we live and I am hopeful that we will see such discoveries/inventions that will change the way we live..

    Enjoy reading your blogs….

  3. ramey Says:

    beautifully written , each one of you….

    Hope Lalu .P.yadav gets to read these musings… i believe that faster train services wud be the solution… talk of Bullet trains instead of free driveways.. imagine the Fuel costs for the passenger Cars Vs the Electric trains …

    Official travel shud be cut down… more on Video calls over the IP or any of the latest communication Gizmos…

    what say u…

    ramey

  4. gkamesh Says:

    Srini asks ‘why on earth are people traveling to Delhi?’…and Ramay says ‘official travel should be cut down…’.

    Both, I believe, are oblivious of the wave…The newfound economic prosperity of the great Indian middle class has fostered a new spirit. A spirit that proclaims “I Travel.. Therefore I am”.. And we travel like herds in migration. For eg, an acquaintance of mine, a clerk at a public sector bank, was one of a group of bank employees – who traveled by air on vacation…From Chennai to Delhi and then to Khatmandu…and back….Some twenty families…Not many of this group would have even dreamed of this five years ago. Air travel, I mean.

    Indians always loved to travel. The difference now is that we can afford to. And more than ever before, we are looking to the skies.

  5. krishashok Says:

    2030. Hmm. Why travel at all? Broadband should be at 100 megapixel resolution, so one can virtually visit anywhere.

  6. gkamesh Says:

    Oh, that would be for the difference between designer dreams and the real thing, Krishashok!

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