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Refueling stations in the sky

This Project is called research for a Cruiser Enabled Air Transport Environment. Scientists from nine European universities has designed its Cruiser-Feeder concept that would allow planes to refuel in mid-air.

The system would involve a refueling plane carrying enough kerosene to top up to five passenger planes located at various points along flight routes. As the passenger plane approaches, the refueling jet would take off, fly beneath the plane before connecting specially-designed and made fuel tanks and pumps.

Simulations have proved that the concept is technically possible and could allow for non-stop flights between Zurich and Sydney, for an example

It would then give  the required amount of kerosene before returning to the ground. 
An alternative scenario would see the jet circling in the air until it is needed. The scientists have spent the last three years studying the feasibility of civil air-to-air refueling operations similar to those used for military aircraft. 

They propose that passenger flights could take off with less fuel and re-tank once they reach an altitude of 33,000ft. This would also reduce noise pollution near airports since planes make more noise the heavier they are at take-off, said Leonardo Mafriani from ZHAW.

The researchers said kerosene reserves make up about a third of the weight on long distance passenger flights at take-off. Reducing them and refueling mid-air could mean 'huge savings' and figures suggest fuel burn could be reduced by up to 23% for every 6,000 nautical miles flight with a payload of 250 passengers.

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