Commercial aviation must embrace sustainability to help itself recover from gravest crisis in its history.
Sustainability was among the key topics discussed on the opening day of FIA Connect, the first virtual event from Farnborough International which brought thousands of aviation, aerospace and defence professionals together across the globe.
Facing up to “gravest crisis in commercial aviation”
The UK government joined the debate this morning with opening remarks from the Secretaries of State for trade, defence and transport. Industry leaders including Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury, said adaption of aviation business models would be fundamental to their survival: “This is the gravest crisis in commercial aviation. Airbus needs to adapt to a crisis that was not planned. Airbus has adapted, reorganised and resized to provide stability for the next two years.”
A Day One poll found that a majority of 37 per cent of respondents thought they wouldn’t travel on a commercial flight until 2021, compared to 32 per cent who thought they would travel within the next 3-6 months, narrowly ahead of 31 per cent who were likely travel in the next three months.
UK could become global leader in sustainable flight
Panel sessions throughout the day discussed that investment in technology would deliver greater sustainability. UK Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the British government’s Jet Zero bill, announced as part of a commitment to achieve zero carbon by 2050 commitment, could place the UK as a global leader in sustainable flight.
He told the FIA Connect audience: “The reason why I think we’re in a unique position potentially for leadership through the jet zero Council on all of this is we’re the only major economy right now is legislated by law for zero, carbon by 2050.”
Missions to Mars in focus
With planetary alignment opening the window for missions to Mars, UAE’s Mars Hope project was at the forefront of the rush to the Red Planet. And our fascination with the planet was the topic of another key session at today’s event, even if, given the opportunity, 56 per cent of respondents said they would prefer not to live on Mars.
Sustainability is also at the heart of space exploration as Virgin Galactic’s Will Whitehorn explained “The view that the first astronauts had of the “blue planet” inspired environmentalism. Without that, it may never have happened.”