I can think of a few advantages of a modular system like this over standard aircraft.
- Could offer faster plane turnaround. Plane never leaves the runway. Drops off sections onto a track, that takes the sections to the terminals. Plane then immediately picks up new sections and leaves.
- Plane sections could be preloaded without the planes being there. Track moves them out to plane liftoff area.
- One plane could cover multiple destinations. Could have three sections, each going to a different city. Plane flies to A and B. Starts by getting sections for A and B, and flies to A. At A, drops off A sections, and gets more B sections, then flies to B. Passengers wouldn't have to change planes so much perhaps.
- Maybe could have fewer airports. In the state of Missouri, KC and St. Louis are pretty close - about 240 miles, or about 1/2 hour travel time by air. What if instead the passengers get preloaded in both cities, then sent to a central location like Columbia (in the middle of the state). Plane picks up a section from KC and one from St. Louis both going to the same destination. Yes I know you could use a standard train for this, but the idea is that it would be seamless. Check in at KC or St. Louis, then get to destination without having to change seats.
- Maybe more secure. If there's no physical doorway between the plane section and the plane itself, the worst a terrorist could do would be to damage one section; i.e., couldn't hijack the plane.
- Maybe better plane disaster recovery. Don't know if it's possible, but maybe a plane section could be fitted with parachutes, where if a plane is going down, it could "eject" the plane sections to fend for themselves, with maybe a drag chute to slow the plane down, then massive chutes to allow the section to land. In this scenario, the structural integrity of the section would be maintained so it could float in the event of a water landing.
I dunno. Very intriguing idea with some possibilities.