BA Experiments With 3D Printing Plane Parts

By Gary Cutlack on at

British Airways is getting on the 3D printing bandwagon like it's 2014 or so, and says it's looking at introducing 3D manufacturing capabilities to its maintenance universe in order to lessen delays.

Bunging 3D printers at airports would make it easier to source certain parts, it says, hoping we might be insufficiently educated in the ways of the world to believe it, with BA claiming this would reduce emissions from flying spares around. Surely it can put the spares on planes it is already flying though? The airline says that "non-essential cabin parts" are first on the list for possible on-demand 3D printing when required, with bosses saying it may help staff fix tray tables and toilets on the fly.

To underline how boring this innovation is and how unlikely it actually is to ever make the slightest difference, BA's #1 idea on the list of things it could one day 3D print is... cutlery. It may one day install massive 3D printers at airports around the globe, so that it can print out a plastic fork. The number two idea is toothbrushes or combs. There is a long, long way to go before anything useful is ever bashed out to order. [BA via Techradar]