Airbus commits to greener travel with SAS deal

European multinational Airbus has shown its commitment to greener travel today by signing an agreement with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) to sink some capital into researching the infrastructure requirements needed to develop hybrid and electric aircraft.

Signed by Grazia Vittadini, chief technology officer, Airbus and Göran Jansson, deputy president EVP Strategy & Ventures at Scandinavian Airlines, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will see the two companies come together to cooperate on “a joint research project to enhance understanding of the operational and infrastructure opportunities and challenges involved with the large-scale introduction of hybrid and full electric aircraft to airlines modus operandi”.

The project will look at five work packages, which focus on analysing the impact of ground infrastructure and charging on range, resources, time and availability at airports.

Which, on the face of it, might not sound like a cast- iron promise to develop this type of technology – more of a “let’s see if it is worth it”, but with the Global Aviation Industry (ATAG), including Airbus and SAS, dedicated to achieving carbon-neutral growth for aviation industry by 2020. Which will see the industry cutting emissions by 50% by 2050 (compared to 2005); this is not just lip service to or pandering to popular opinion.

Indeed, Airbus has already started to build a portfolio of technology demonstrators and is currently testing innovative hybrid propulsion systems, subsystems and components in order to address long-term efficiency goals for building and operating electric aircraft.

Furthermore, the collaboration also includes a plan to involve a renewable energy supplier to ensure genuine zero CO2 emissions operations are assessed. This multidisciplinary approach—from energy to infrastructure—aims to address the entire aircraft operations ecosystem in order to better support the aviation industry’s transition to sustainable energy.

The project will start in June 2019 and run until the end of 2020.

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