Gerd Leonhard on the Future of Flying and Virtual Transportation

Editor’s Note: We are publishing a five-part weekly series on the Future of Air Travel. For this exclusive series, SimpliFlying consultants have been interacting with leading thinkers and futurists and tapping their valuable insights. This is the fourth interview of our series. (Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.)

Gerd Leonhard is a well-known futurist, keynote speaker and the CEO of The Futures Agency. He works on future scenarios for companies that are looking to reinvent what they do and how they do it.

Gerd began by telling us that airlines have to prepare themselves for the era of virtual transportation post-2023, as virtual flying will become very popular and it won’t involve airplanes. Virtual transportation involves being at a destination virtually, with the help of holograms and telepresence. It is more about moving your image, not body and yet the experience and the presence will almost be life-like. Same day travel for business meetings will become redundant due to that technology.

The scope of virtual transportation can expand as far as shaking hands, touch-feel-hear-smell and even passing documents. The possibilities are literally endless.


Gerd mentioned automation as one of the key technologies for the future of aviation, especially with focus on efficiencies required across the board in not just fuel consumption, but also for sales, marketing and other key management areas of an airline.

Big Data

Big Data will be essential for airlines to analyse trends and to act on them. For example: acting on probable trends shaping passenger preferences and being ready when the market demand for the same peaks. Similarly, Big Data can be very useful for prediction analysis and anticipatory services. For example: using data to find out future travel patterns of passengers or services he/she may require before, on and after the flight.

Artificial Intelligence

AI will have a massive role to play in the IFE of the future. We are already seeing Qantas employing VR headsets in flight and in lounges for entertainment purposes. The IFE of the future will witness involved interfaces, with 3D, Virtual and Augmented reality capabilities, without any extra overhead or over-eye devices.

Watch the entire interview below:

  • How can airlines re-invent what they do beyond 2015? [0:28]
  • Evolving business travel of the future [1:56]
  • Technologies impacting aviation and air travel [2:12]
  • The future of IFE [3:41]

How do you think In-Flight Entertainment and other air travel technologies will evolve in the future? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @simpliflying.

Vishal Mehra

Vishal Mehra

Vishal Mehra was leading Social and Digital marketing efforts at SimpliFlying from January 2015 to January 2016. A self-confessed commercial aviation geek, Vishal had led digital marketing campaigns at leading global agencies for 9 years, before finding his dream job at the intersection of aviation and digital marketing. His interests include Travelling, Technology, Podcasts (long before Serial arrived) and Beer.
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Showing 2 comments
  • LongTimeObserver

    May not have been the best idea to download the futurist at a bar…

  • Ajay Sharma

    Einstein Copied Galileo’s principle of relativity published in book Dialogue concerning the Two Chief World Systems 1632, and called it HIS OWN First postulate of Relativity in 1905

    Great Galileo has given postulate of relativity
    in 1632 in his book Dialogue concerning the
    Two Chief World Systems using the metaphor of Galileo’s ship. Galileo was convicted for writing this book and it was placed on Index of Forbidden Books ( Index Librorum
    Prohibitorum) from which it was not removed
    until 1835. Thus it very-2 famous book in science.
    Discussion between Simplicio and Salviati in Galileo’s book

    Galileo postulated his relativity hypothesis:

    any two observers moving at constant speed and direction
    with respect to one another will obtain the same results for all mechanical experiments

    Meaning of Galileo’s thesis : Constant speed :
    same result (1632) Einstein (1905)

    The first postulate of relativity as stated by Einstein in his June paper (
    known as theory of Relativity)
    The laws by which the states of physical
    systems undergo change are not affected,
    whether these changes of state be referred to the one or the other of two systems of
    co-ordinates in uniform translatory motion.

    Meaning of Einstein’s postulate:
    uniform velocity : unaffected results or same results
    The theme of both statements are same if body
    moves with constant velocity the results are same. It should be noted that
    Einstein’s re-statement is nothing but Galileo’s principle of relativity.

    In scientific language it is called plagiarism and in general sense theft in broad day
    The above aspects along with many others is explained in

    Beyond Einstein and E=mc2 pp. 546, Chapter 7

    Publisher Cambridge International Science Publishers Cambridge , England

    AjayOnLine dot us

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