Business Aviation Leads the Way on Sustainability and Innovation, Says EU Policymaker

20 May, 2019

Previewing the next three days at the 2019 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE2019), business aviation leaders touted the innovation and investment driving the industry into the future. At the Media Luncheon on 20 May, speakers promised an EBACE program stacked with advances in urban air mobility, sustainable flight and workforce development.

“This week will highlight how business aviation is changing before our very eyes,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “What our industry always does is evolve, adapt and lead to be part of the future.”

New eVTOL Aircraft

New technologies are changing the industry, said Bolen, particularly electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL). “We know eVTOL will be transformational, because of the people and the passion invested in it.”

One of Europe’s most passionate eVTOL innovators will raise the curtain on EBACE2019. Florian Reuter, the CEO of Volocopter, will show off the company’s prototype air taxi, at the Opening Keynote Session.

Throughout the week, the Innovation Zone will feature a series of in-depth panels on electric aircraft and urban air mobility, with several eVTOL concepts on display in the adjacent Innovation Pavilion.

New Biofuels for Aircraft

Innovation also underpins the show’s focus on sustainability, said Bolen and Juergen Wiese, the chairman of the Board of Governors of the EBAA.

This year, Wiese announced a record number of aircraft – 23 in all – flew to Geneva for EBACE powered by sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF).

“This year, we kick off EBACE with our first-ever SAJF Fly-In,” said Wiese, “proving that SAJF are safe, do not impact aircraft performance, benefit airport communities and reflect our industry’s determination to continually reduce business aircraft carbon emissions.”

The promise and potential of SAJF were affirmed by a top European Commission (EC) official, Flor Diaz Pulido, head of Aviation Policy for the EC Department for Mobility and Transport.

“We need something disruptive to help the aviation industry decarbonize faster,” said Diaz Pulido, “and in those terms, SAJF can be a gamechanger.”

Diaz Pulido also emphasized the industry has made major strides in reducing emissions, and yet, “we cannot sit on our past success,” she said. “We need to keep improving, and in that sense, business aviation is among the leaders of the sector. You are the front runners.”

New Workforce Initiatives

As the industry looks to the future, “a key priority is attracting and retaining the professionals of the future who will make up the business aviation workforce,” said EBAA Secretary General Athar Husain Khan.

As part of this broad workforce initiative, EBACE2019 includes an interactive panel featuring some of European aviation’s most dynamic young professionals. Delegates chosen by EBAA to attend One Young World in The Hague will pitch their ideas for corporate social and environmental responsibility to a panel of business aviation experts.

“Inspired by their experience, they are already giving back,” said Khan, announcing that EBAA is now accepting nominations for the second class of One Young World delegates.