Future Aviation Forum – Big Think Panel

Aviation accounts for around 2.5% of global CO2 emissions. It is widely recognised as both one of the most carbon-intensive forms of transport and one of the most difficult to decarbonise

To meet 2050 Net Zero targets, it is vital that we act now to make the industry as a whole more sustainable.

At the Future Aviation Forum, I was joined by a global panel of experts to Think Big and offer disruptive solutions to this urgent challenge.

Professor Andreas Schäfer, Director of the Air Transportation Systems Laboratory at UCL highlights three areas of focus:

⛽ Improving fuel efficiency
⚛️ Scaling production of synthetic, low-carbon fuels
🚆 Providing effective substitutes for air travel, such as high-speed rail

One of the most innovative solutions to improving fuel efficiency was proposed by Camil Sagues, Head of Environment and Sustainability Marketing at Airbus France.

Observing the migration patterns of large birds, Airbus has started to experiment with long-haul ‘formation flights’, where a follower aircraft flies safely in the wake updraft of the leader aircraft. This reduces engine thrust and in turn, cuts fuel consumption.

There is certainly cause for optimism.

Andreas highlights that “within 20 years, the entire fleet of US steam locomotives was substituted for diesel and electric locomotives.”

Industries have transformed in the past, and with the right signals, they can transform once again.