The new AIDA ships to be built in Japan will literally sail on air bubbles to reduce friction and consequently fuel consumption, according to sources familiar with the ships.

Already, according to German press reports, citing Michael Thamm, president of AIDA, the company claims to consume in the range of three liters of fuel per passenger per every 100 kilometers of sailing. The air bubble system, which is not new, has not been applied on cruise ships up to now. A layer of air separates the hull from the water, and it is believed that the system will further reduce fuel consumption. Research claims go as high as 50 percent savings. 

Mitsubishi has developed its own so-called air lubrication system, claiming to reduce power and fuel consumption by up to 10 percent.  The Japanese shipbuilder is also offering the system for container ships, claiming fuel savings and CO2 reduction.