In the past year sustainable aviation has been going from talk to walk, or should we say flight? More and more concepts are being presented1, more aircraft orders and MOUs are being made2 and more and more airports are developing the infrastructure required for the future3, or even setting up the first sustainable routes4. Flight routes in which non-CO2 emissions are decreased are being discovered5, as well as the possibility of decreasing emissions through formation flying6. As the world leaders start putting in motion the policy required for a transition to sustainability following COP26 in Glasgow, and industry leaders at Airbus, Rolls Royce and Embraer look ahead at the future markets this will lead to, we can expect to see the scene in the sky change in the coming 5-20 years.
Aviation innovation is happening fast, pushing the boundaries of sustainable aviation forward further and further. However, innovation is also chaotic and at times wildly unpredictable. New technological developments arising alongside new markets and new market players make it difficult to keep up. Therefore, the policy required to support aviation innovation cannot keep up. We can see government institutions are often trying to catch up with frontrunning firms and innovation developers.
Supporting policy for sustainable aviation, both the carrot and the stick, are vital for innovation but often require multiple years to develop and enact. For policymakers this presents a dilemma. Without consistently understanding the current status quo and the future developments of aviation innovation, it is very difficult to develop clear policy that can further guide a transition to sustainable aviation.
Gathering, verifying and analyzing the information that is required is a vast task. Spread across research papers, high-level consultancy reports, policy research and company reports, all the information on sustainable aviation must be bundled together. The information covers a range of geographical scopes, subjects, and also a range of visions depending on the perspective of the author. Every year, new information arises, and other information becomes outdated. New technologies emerge, and old innovations are proven to be unviable. And every firm and organization has it’s own perspective on what the future will bring.
Understanding this ever-changing environment requires researchers that have a clear affinity with the subject matter, who can dissect the available information and gather the most important developments and conclusions. At To70, work is being done to achieve a full understanding of sustainable aviation innovation so that we are able to work with policy makers and provide them with clear and up to date data and intelligence. Recently, on both a European and national scale, government institutions are looking for this information.
Looking ahead at future developments using roadmaps, value chains and stakeholder analysis can give insights into what the future of aviation will bring. This data and intelligence is continuously evolving and changing. This uncertainty is a constant factor that we cannot ignore but must try our best to understand. By collecting, analyzing and understanding sustainable aviation innovation, complete and comprehensive information can reach policy makers to ensure valuable sustainable aviation policy is made.
1: pdf_Investor_Presentation.pdf (vertical-aerospace.com),
2: Universal Hydrogen and Icelandair Group Sign LOI for Hydrogen-Powered Dash 8 Fleet to Eliminate Carbon Emissions | Business Wire & MHIRJ and ZeroAvia to collaborate on the design & development of Zero Emission propulsion technology for Regional Jets | MHI RJ Aviation ULC. CRJ Series
3: Airport partners with Ørsted to bring sustainable air travel to the UK | Edinburgh Airport
4: Eerste vlucht op waterstof van RTHA naar London verwacht in 2024 – Rotterdam The Hague Airport
5: Contrails: How tweaking flight plans can help the climate – BBC News
6: fello’fly | Airbus