Achieving the sustainability goals that the aviation industry has set itself will require international collaboration, said Sir Stephen Hillier, Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority, speaking at the Sustainable World Skies Summit 2023.

He told FINN: “Collaboration is vitally important … in all senses – internationally, certainly. We need to make sure that we tackle this across nations because ultimately for a global challenge like this, there is no solution which is not international in nature. So the Civil Aviation Authority, we’re working very closely with ICAO, we’re working very closely with governments to take through initiatives like long term aspirational goals, which were agreed with ICAO last year.

“We’re working with our National Aviation Authorities network, which was announced here at Farnborough last year, and we’re working bilaterally as well. While I’m at Farnborough, I’ll be meeting with FAA officials to ensure that we work closely so absolutely essential. And that international collaboration, it’s not just if you like, official level. It’s also at an industry level as well, because all stakeholders have an interest here and we want to work with everybody.”

Small enterprises, large regulators

He added: “There’s a really key issue here not just in relation to sustainability, but new technologies and innovation. A lot of that is coming from the smaller enterprises from those startups. And they are not necessarily used to dealing with large regulators. They may not have the resources to be able to invest in the way that others might be able to and some of them might not even be familiar with aviation in the round. So within the CAA, we’re putting a lot of effort into making sure that we are configured as an organisation to to deal with that.”

Sir Stephen became Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority on 1 August 2020. He previously had a career in the Royal Air Force, eventually becoming Chief of the Air Staff, the head of the Service. He has extensive military flying experience as a pilot and instructor on a wide range of aircraft types, although his flying career started at age 17 when the CAA issued him his Private Pilot’s Licence.Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter