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Fly the Green Deal | Europe’s Vision for Sustainable Aviation

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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader , Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

  • Member since 2019
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  • Jul 26, 2022
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Europe’s evolving view of the future of aviation is set out in a series of vision documents. “European Aeronautics: A Vision for 2020” was written in 2000. “Flightpath 2050 – Europe’s Vision for Aviation” was launched in 2010. These documents have provided the universal references for aviation strategy and guided decision-making processes across the globe.

Over the past two decades, European aviation has made significant advances. Aircraft manufacture and operation, air traffic management and customer service are all improving continuously, while maintaining the highest levels of safety. But since the publication of Flightpath 2050 the world has changed, and continues to change, at an ever-increasing pace. The COVID-19 pandemic caused aviation’s biggest challenge ever: an unprecedented and extended global reduction in demand.

Full recovery is still some years away and may be constrained by political crises and conflict. Therefore, particular attention must be paid to sector resilience and passenger health. Escalating and volatile energy prices and uncertainties concerning energy security are also a concern. Public perception of air transport is in changing. Challenges arising from the Paris Agreement, specifically on climate change, from both CO2 and non-CO2 effects, and local air quality and noise, are at the forefront of many people’s thoughts. Rapid improvements are expected consistent with the European Green Deal and the Fit for 55 package. As well as travellers are now balancing the traditional concerns of journey time, punctuality and price, the fastest, cheapest connection against the ability to tailor their door to-door journey to their own priorities, including health, and environmental impact.

Some people are even choosing not to fly in favour of other transport modes or virtual alternatives. To address climate concerns, elements of the aviation community have produced the Association of European Research Establishments in Aeronautics (EREA) Seven Point Plan (7PP), the World Economic Forum “Clean Skies for tomorrow” initiative, the Destination 2050 “Route to net-zero European aviation by 2050” and launched the Toulouse Declaration as a public-private aviation initiative to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Disruptive technologies and operations are emerging that challenge the established norm. Digitalisation is envisaged for all stages of the aviation value chain. Already busy airspace will host a diverse mixture of traditional and new air vehicles with greatly varying performance and flight dynamics.

New actors, with novel and disruptive operating and business models, are expecting a seat at the aviation table. The aviation system-of-systems is increasingly being seen as one indispensable, embedded part of a broader system-of- systems providing mobility as a service. While presenting new opportunities.

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