European Tech Execs Vow Clean Aviation Cooperation

Airplane tracks
Credit: JAUBERT French Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

BERLIN—The chief technology officers of seven companies involved in the EU’s Clean Aviation public-private partnership have committed to work together on topics that would otherwise be competitive issues, praising the framework the €4.1 billion ($4.3 billion) initiative is giving the industry.

“We first need to win the race for 2050 [the target for climate neutrality], and then we will worry about the rest,” says Nicole Dreyer-Langlet, Airbus’ VP for research and technology in Germany. She was speaking during a panel discussion organized by the Clean Aviation joint undertaking at the ILA Berlin Air Show.

“We are aiming at large integrated demonstrators, and we need partnerships,” says Alan Newby, Rolls-Royce’s director of aerospace technology and future programs. “The ability to access the ecosystem is key.”

The sustainability challenge is changing the rules of the game. “We have to do our job twice as fast and the impact of the technologies we are working on must be twice as strong,” Safran senior EVP for research and technology and innovation Eric Dalbies points out. “Hence the need for more disruption, and we have to coordinate various initiatives. Clean Aviation is giving us a chance to meet those targets.”

Dreyer-Langlet emphasizes that companies have to develop technologies in parallel. “They will be interlinked and yet we cannot develop them in sequence,” she says. “We can only be in it as a team.”

“We will bring the technologies to the right industrial level and make them competitive on the market,” says Nathalie Duquesne, Liebherr Aerospace Toulouse’s MD. “This is an opportunity to be all together and introduce a new technology with impact in mind.”

Duquesne was echoed by Michel Peters, general director of NLR, the Netherland’s aerospace research center. “Clean Aviation is essential in bringing people together,” Peters says. “And it is not only a question of new technologies, it is also about time to market.”

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Thierry Dubois

Thierry Dubois has specialized in aerospace journalism since 1997. An engineer in fluid dynamics from Toulouse-based Enseeiht, he covers the French commercial aviation, defense and space industries. His expertise extends to all things technology in Europe. Thierry is also the editor-in-chief of Aviation Week’s ShowNews.