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On April 22, the Clean Sky programme hosted a webinar on the future of aviation and innovations in a green perspective.

The event, which was introduced by journalist Bernice Notenboom, highlighted how the aviation sector is nowadays confronted with the need to play a greater role in lowering the impact on climate change by cutting CO2 emissions. The webinar allowed major European aviation companies to share their views on the commitment towards the European Green Deal and the next steps to take.

Clean Sky’s Executive Director, Axel Krein addressed research and development efforts as the main drivers of today’s challenges and path. This concept was further discussed by Adina Valean, European Commissioner for Transport, who remarked that in the current context the recovery from the economic crisis is the focus, but it also represents the framework in which to set ambitious climate goals and reach the 50% of emission cuts towards a more radical and disruptive pathway.

The elements which were identified as crucial factors for the success of the revolution within the aviation sector are the costs to support investments and the need to act on time. As CEO of Airbus, Guillaume Faury explained, the decarbonization of the aviation industry has to occur in a short time horizon and it will be necessary to start acting on the aspects in which companies are most prepared on. Thus, according to CEO of Safran, Olivier Andriès, investments on mature technologies constitute a fundamental tool and a chance to allow Europe to be the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

Among the instruments available to mark the green turn, Lufthansa Group CEO, Carstern Spohr considered sustainable aviation fuels and new technology. Spohr remarked the importance of finding smart incentives to support research and development programs, in order to proceed towards the reduction of CO2 emissions in a way that does not affect competition. In this context, cooperation with institutions and the whole supply chain is essential, according to Director-General of ACI (Airports Council International) Olivier Jankovec, who expressed the need for disruptive change which requires a regulatory and financial framework and strong relations with policy-makers and airways.

Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton intervened encouraging the use of innovative measures and stakeholder’s mobilization to foster transformation of the aviation sector and stay ahead of the technological race. The discussion continued tackling the challenges brought by competitiveness in the world market, which saw Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo and President of the Aerospace and Defense Industries Association of Europe (ASD), addressing the key role for the EU in the commitment to sustainability and the importance of launching investments in technology and new resources. Another point of view was offered by the representative of the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Prof. Eduardo Maldonado who commented: “Aviation is and will continue to be run by a small number of large firms. Beyond that we have a big number of SMEs, universities and research centers that can provide novel solutions for all of us. This is very important for the future of Clean Sky and Horizon Europe”.

Member of European Parliament, Marian-Jean Marinescu and Director-General of Transport, Energy, Environment and Education at the Council of the European Union, Peter Jarvocik followed debating about solid legislation and impact assessments as the current priority for setting clear regulation in terms of safety, connectivity and sustainability goals. During the third panel, several representatives from major firms discussed regarding innovation in sustainable aviation. Among them, CTO (Chief Technical Officer) of Airbus- Grazia Vittadini, CTO of Safran -Stéphane Cueille, CTO of Liebherr -Francis Carla, CEO of DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla and CTO of Rolls Royce, Paul Stein, highlighted how the new challenges ahead are a great stimulus for the industry to mature and implement new technologies and new aircraft solutions, as well as developing synergies with other connected sectors, such as the energy sector.

Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate of Research and Innovation, Jean-Eric Paquet gave closing remarks and welcomed the ideas and initiatives of the aviation industry, as well as the partnerships with SMEs and research organizations, as an opportunity to lead the way towards profound renewal for a clean future.

Address: Charles Martel 54, 1000 Brussels, Belgium                e-mail:                  Telephone: +32 25227315