Earlier this week, the European Union released the list of the first members of its Alliance for Zero Emission Aviation. The Alliance is a voluntary initiative from private and public partners to come together to prepare the European air transport landscape for the entry into service of electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft.
The founding members of the Alliance include household names such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Safran, easyJet and Wizz Air, but also startups including eVTOL maker Lilium, hydrogen-electric powertrain developer ZeroAvia, and long-range hydrogen-powered aircraft developer Beyond Aero, as well as Cranfield Aerospace Solutions.
On the airport side, some signatories include Torino Airport, the Dublin Airport Authority, Swedavia (operator of ten airports across Sweden) and Teruel. Meanwhile, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Eurocontrol represent parts of the public sector. Other organizations, including IATA, A4E, ACI Europe and IndustriAll European Trade Union, have also put their names down.
The declaration of the Alliance reads,
“As signatories of this declaration, private and public actors shaping Europe’s future air transport system, we declare to work towards achieving the objectives of the Alliance for Zero-Emission Aviation, namely to prepare the aviation ecosystem for the earliest possible entry into service of hydrogen- and electric-powered aircraft as outlined in the Destination 2050 Roadmap1 leveraging the investments and building on the technologies developed under the aviation research programmes (especially the Clean Aviation and the SESAR3 Joint Undertakings) and contributing to Europe’s 2050 climate neutrality target.”
Identify challenges and solutions
The purpose of the Alliance is initially to identify and prioritize the challenges associated with a transition to novel propulsion architecture systems. This includes not only aircraft design and fuel storage but also airport infrastructure and airline operations. The intention is that it will also propose specific and practical solutions to overcome the obstacles involved in transitioning to zero-emission flight.
Participation is open to all players within the aeronautical industry, but also in the broader aviation supply chain, such as fuel suppliers. The EU Commission says that the involvement of smaller industry players and startups working on climate-neutral air transport solutions will “be especially welcome.”
The Alliance is open to members from the broader aviation community. Photo: EU Commission
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, stated,
“Europe’s aeronautics industry is the most innovative in the world. And its enthusiasm – from large manufacturers to equipment suppliers and small companies and start-ups – to lead the way to hydrogen and electric propulsion aircraft is really encouraging. But the entire aviation ecosystem, including fuel suppliers, airport operators and regulators, also needs to get ready. The Alliance for Zero Emission Aviation will help coordinate efforts by companies and organisations to maintain a competitive and sustainable aviation sector.”
What do you think of the Commission’s initiative? Is the EU doing enough to support sustainable innovation across the aviation industry? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.