Newlyweds will be able to spend their honeymoon in hotels in space by the end of this century because air travel will develop so rapidly, industry experts have predicted.
An overnight stay could cost the equivalent of around £5,000, with holidaymakers being ferried around in vast aircraft in the same way as cruise ship passengers.
At the more conventional end of aviation, airliners will fly at up to five times the speed of sound, cutting the journey time from Europe to Australia to three hours.
Finnair, the Finnish airline, outlined its predictions to celebrate its 85th anniversary and said the industry would thrive after overcoming the current economic downturn.
Launching the Departure 2093 project, Jukka Hienonen, chief executive, said: “Aviation might not grow over the next year and there will be more bankruptcies, but by 2010 I think we will see things back on track.
“Energy prices are only likely to get higher in the next 20 years if they are based on oil. But this will motivate crucial research into bio-fuels and sustainability.”
Kauko Helavuo, project designer, said: “New engine solutions will completely revolutionise air and land transport. Zero-emission engines will displace their polluting predecessors.
“Intercontinental aircraft will fly at four to five times the speed of sound.
“Space travel will start up on a big scale between 2020 and 2040. A 15-hour stay in a space hotel will be obtainable for a sum equivalent to two months average salary.”
Christer Haglund, an executive, envisaged airliners more like cruise ships, carrying 850 passengers.
“How romantic would it be to take your honeymoon in space and look down on the beautiful world? We believe it is possible.”