Speaking at Sustainable Skies World Summit, Rachel Gardner-Poole – delivery group chair for the Jet Zero Council Zero Emissions Flight Delivery Group – spoke to FINN about the group’s role, particularly concerning the public perception of sustainable aviation.

“As the Jet Zero Council – which is a collaborative group across industry, academia and government – the more communication we can do the better,” she said, citing the importance of imparting the “very positive improvements” to the general public as “absolutely critical to the future of aviation”. This communication is particularly important regarding the younger generation, added Gardner-Poole, who cited the perceived negative environmental perception most prevalent among the this age group.

The Zero Emissions Flight Delivery Group was first set up as part of the Jet Zero Council about two years ago and is “really looking at the new technologies that are required to achieve zero-emission flight,” considering a diverse range of strategies. Alongside new propulsion technologies such as battery-electric and hydrogen research, “we need things like carbon capture as well as more operationally efficient aircraft, better airspace, and taking carbon out of the air as well,” Gardner-Poole explained. However, she noted that “airlines in general, and in fact everyone within the aerospace industry, are much more aware of sustainability so are looking at everything in its entirety”.

A recent study conducted by Innovate UK Business Connect in October 2023 for its member and delivery partner the Jet Zero Council indicated that 71% of over 2,000 UK adults surveyed were unaware of SAF, with those aged 18-34 the least likely to have heard of it. “I personally found [this result] really surprising,” said Gardner-Poole, noting the substantial national media coverage Flight 100 attracted. However, 82% and 77% of participants would consider flying on a battery or hydrogen-powered aircraft respectively, something she concluded was “really encouraging”.
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