Are the airline and aerospace industries on the same page when it comes to sustainability and how to tackle the problem of climate change? And are they on the same page as Airbus? In summary, these were the central questions at the Airbus Summit on September 21-22. The European airframer had invited its own specialists and key players from airlines, airports, the energy industry, and pro and contra-aviation lobby groups to Toulouse, with a number of them present only online. Airbus Summit seeks consensus on decarbonization.
The Summit took place exactly a year since Airbus launched its ambitious ZEROe-program which aims to get the first hydrogen Airbus into service in 2035. The project has been met with criticism from doubters (including Boeing…) who think it will take at least another twenty more years to get the hydrogen infrastructure up and running. But it has also set the debate on the sustainability of aviation in motion. It’s this momentum or energy, as CEO Guillaume Faury called it, that Airbus wishes to maximize.
Hence the Summit was seeking acknowledgment that Airbus’s own strategy and that of the industry is right.
“I am more and more confident that ZEROe is an achievable airplane but we realize at the same time, working every day on that challenge, that the plane is available in 2035 is just one part of the challenges. There are other challenges as well, that’s one of the reasons why we have this summit,” Faury said. “For us, 2035 is tomorrow, so we have to be fast and we have to be fast together.”
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