Excitement is building ahead of the start of the 2021 Dubai Airshow, the first major international industry event to take place since the Covid-19 crisis hit almost two years ago. The Airshow will be the opportunity to celebrate aerospace as a force for good as the sector recovers.
Leading the response to climate change
Airbus’ commitment to being a force for good extends to the most pressing of today’s challenges: climate change. With aviation responsible for an estimated 3% of total carbon emissions, the industry will be pivotal to meeting our climate obligations, limiting global warming to 2 degrees. The company is committed to leading the decarbonization of the aerospace sector, pledging to deliver net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The scale of the company’s ambition is illustrated by the pioneering hydrogen-powered ZEROe concept aircraft, the vanguard of Airbus’ determination to develop the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft as early as 2035. Simultaneously, Airbus is leading industry efforts to develop sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and is working towards having its entire commercial aircraft fleet as well as helicopter fleet certified to fly with a 100% SAF.
Both initiatives reflect Airbus’ commitment to creating a more sustainable future energy mix for aviation, as well as its willingness to collaborate with an ever-growing network of partners including engine manufacturers, airports, technology partners, and energy suppliers. Momentum is building, and fast. Already, Airbus has secured many of the partnerships required to deliver the new ZEROe ecosystem by 2035, including with airlines such as SAS and easyJet, airports such as ADP and Vinci, refueling companies such as Plug Power, and H2 producers such as Air Liquide.
In addition, Airbus has joined the Coalition for the Energy of the Future, which works to reduce the environmental impact of the transport and logistics sectors. Through its membership of the Coalition, Airbus will help industry efforts to accelerate the development of a raft of alternative fuels from green hydrogen to biofuel, fast-tracking their eventual integration into a new aviation energy mix.
A force for good in today’s world
Despite the unprecedented restrictions imposed on air travel as result of the pandemic, the aerospace industry played an integral role in the global response.
For Airbus aircraft, the pandemic has been a period of intense activity. Airframes have been working tirelessly to ensure the continuity of medical supply lines and the transportation of specialist personnel and patients, helping to ease pressure on hospitals in regions most impacted by Covid-19. Military aircraft such as the iconic A400M have been used in medevac operations right across the world from Spain to Malaysia, while in the UK, it has been used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) to transport patients from remote Scottish islands to mainland hospitals for emergency treatment.
The response to the pandemic was the latest example of the positive contribution aerospace makes to the world we live in. Airbus aircraft have played a pivotal role in providing humanitarian relief in a multitude of challenging environments in recent years.
A400M has enabled Malaysia to become a regional leader in humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) operations, providing lifesaving relief to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The aircraft also demonstrated its reliability and versatility in supporting the victims of Hurricane Irma in 2017. The deployment of A400M by British, French, and German air forces proved decisive, due to its ability to operate from shorter airfields.
Similarly, the durability of the H125 rotorcraft was essential in limiting the devastation caused by unprecedented swarms of desert locusts afflicting East Africa in 2021. The H125s, operated by Savannah Helicopters, were able to operate for between 70 to 80 hours a month, playing an essential role in tracking the fast-moving swarms and helping to minimize their impact on food security and saving countless vulnerable people from starvation.
Pioneering sustainability in our cities and in space
As part of Airbus’ determination to deliver sustainable future aerospace, the company is drawing on its experience and expertise to develop a new generation of fully electric CityAirbus eVTOL rotorcraft. Designed to carry up to four passengers, the platform will provide air transportation with zero emissions, providing people with a safe, sustainable, and convenient solution that leverages the airspace above our cities.
Simultaneously, Airbus is working to ensure sustainability in space, honoring its responsibility to future generations to protect the space environment. Building on over 30 years of experience as a leading developer of Earth observation technology, Airbus satellites are providing invaluable monitoring of our planet. While existing platforms are already delivering data on everything from sea levels and the thickness of polar ice to levels of deforestation, the next generation will enable scientists to monitor levels of atmospheric pollution and global biomass, and even detect and remove manmade junk from space.
As the aerospace industry and the world begin to emerge from the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, Airbus remains as committed as ever to being a force for good. In recognition of the scale of the climate challenge ahead, the company has moved swiftly and decisively to put sustainability at the core of its business, turning targets into action and working to develop the technologies and partnerships that will transform the aerospace industry over the next decade.
Recovering from the pandemic and meeting the climate challenge will require us to all play our part. Already, Airbus is showing that it is willing to take the tough decisions and ask the difficult questions required to deliver a decarbonized future for aerospace. In doing so, it is highlighting the extraordinary contribution the industry can make to our lives, and our planet.
Our world is changing. And so are we. At Airbus, we want to be known not only for our exceptional products and services, but also for the positive impact we have on the world and its citizens. This starts by rethinking our approach to the way we do business to ensure we can step up and be a driving force for change.
As a proven leader in the global aerospace sector, Airbus designs, produces and delivers innovative solutions with the aim to create a better-connected, safer and more prosperous world.