Clean aviation


The need for an inclusive, ambitious and institutionalised European Partnership for Clean Aviation

Europe needs to accelerate and enhance its efforts to achieve the ambitious goals set out in the Paris Agreement. The European Green Deal is a cornerstone policy of the European Union; and it sets out the path to achieving Europe’s leading contribution. It will include the first European Climate law, enshrining the 2050 climate neutrality objective in legislation. At the same time, the newly launched Industrial Strategy for Europe lays out in clear terms the importance of industrial leadership in making the transformation to a green and digital Europe fit for the future.

The aviation sector will need to contribute to these priorities and transform. Together with the European Union, European aviation has the power to lead the way toward a climate neutral aviation system and set new global standards for safe, reliable, affordable and clean air transport.

The European aeronautics community is ready and committed to act now to work towards climate-neutral aviation, and simultaneously build crucial industrial leadership for Europe and its citizens.

The journey to a climate neutral aviation system is well beyond the private sector’s capability and capacity to invest alone. Equally, no single country in Europe has the financial, technological and industrial capability to affect the transformation. The European additionality is evident. An Institutionalised European Partnership for Clean Aviation under Horizon Europe constitutes the only approach that can pull together the resources and commitment and adequately reduce the industrial risk for transformative research and innovation [R&I]. This approach will secure the long-term industrial commitments needed for long innovation cycles. It will ensure that research activities of industry are aligned with the Union’s policy priorities. It will build Europe’s leadership in innovation and technology, and deliver jobs and economic growth throughout the transition to a climate neutral Europe by 2050. It can offer future generations the promise of continued, affordable and equal access to air travel, and its social and economic benefits, and contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The goal of the Clean Aviation Partnership is to ensure that technology advancements allow new product developments in aeronautics to deliver maximum progress towards climate neutral aviation, meeting socio-economic expectations and providing benefits for European citizens and businesses.

The new Partnership will build upon the important technological progress that has been made under the Clean Sky and Clean Sky 2 programmes. Support from the EU Institutions and European Member States will be essential in creating the conditions for impact, and in enabling synergies with other EU, national and regional research and innovation programmes.

The Clean Aviation Partnership’s Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda [SRIA] sets out the way to achieve the overall vision, in terms of timescales and magnitude of impact. This integrated research roadmap includes the required upstream ‘exploratory’ research that is essential to finding tomorrow’s pathways to mature technologies, ready to be incorporated into further new and disruptive innovations.

The Clean Aviation trajectory defines two clear horizons towards climate neutrality by 2050:

  • 2030: demonstrating and introducing low-emissions aircraft concepts exploiting the research results of Clean Aviation, making accelerated use of sustainable fuels and optimised ‘green’ operations, so these innovations can be offered to airlines and operators by 2030 for an entry into service [EIS] in the 2030-2035 timeframe;
  • 2050: climate neutral aviation, by exploiting future technologies matured beyond the Clean Aviation phase coupled with full deployment of sustainable aviation fuels and alternative energy carriers.
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