Recaro Aircraft Seating CEO Mark Hiller believes traditional power sockets will ultimately be replaced by USB power on short- and mid-haul flights, as laptop charging technology evolves.

“In the long term, power might go away, at least on short haul,” Hiller told ATW at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany.

This change will come as USB power becomes more universal and is increasingly rolled out as a power source for modern laptops.

Hiller said one traditional socket takes up the space of two USB charging ports. They are also heavier than USB and more expensive.

However, for the time being, he believes power sockets will continue to be used on long-haul flights.

Diarmuid Healy, who is head of technical asset management at Dublin-based lessor SMBC Aviation Capital, agreed that most aircraft will ultimately be equipped with in-seat USB power.

“It’s all going USB,” he said, adding that the sockets are very easy to fit and retrofit. Like Hiller, he said changes to laptop charging technology will reduce the need for traditional power sockets.

Victoria Moores