The Changing Landscape of Aviation Industry

The Changing Landscape of Aviation Industry

What are some of the major challenges and trends that have been impacting the Aviation space lately?

For years, aviation has been directly impacted by fuel costs and each increase in the price of oil has made it possible to reduce consumption to compensate. Today, we are focusing on greenhouse gas emissions; this will push us towards new innovations.

Aircraft sizes have also changed a lot: for decades, aircraft manufacturers built bigger and bigger planes until they reached the impressive size of the A380. The end of this program shows an opposite trend for the future.

What keeps you up at night when it comes to some of the major predicaments in the Aviation space?

Two things, one is about COVID and border closures that prevent people from traveling. The impact on traffic is catastrophic.

The second concerns the lobbying made around the polluting plane, whereas aeronautics has made the biggest gains over the past 20 years, the carbon footprint of the aeronautical sector represents only 3 percent of the total and that finally the comparisons made with other means of transport never take the whole process into account (example: impact of manufacturing and recycling batteries)!

 

Can you tell us about the latest project that you have been working on and what are some of the technological and process elements that you leveraged to make the project successful

Political pressure is forcing aircraft manufacturers to develop new ideas to drastically reduce the carbon footprint. Thus, the introduction of hydrogen as energy will be the big step in the coming years. Much remains to be done in this area both from a technical point of view but also in distribution, procurement. It is a societal change that is necessary

In the short term, we will focus on the introduction of SAF (sustainable aviation fuel), an important lever not to increase our carbon footprint. But here, we will need a change in oil production.

In term of way of working, faced with the complexity of new systems and to avoid an explosion in costs, new agile methods are introduced to avoid the classic V development, very robust but very expensive as soon as the problems are discovered late.

 What are some of the technological trends which excite you for the future of the Aviation space?

As explained, the introduction of hydrogen in aeronautics is the challenge in front of us. We will have to solve storage problems (gas or liquid), distribution issues (risk of leakage) and choose the best architecture for energy production: do we burn hydrogen directly or manufacture electricity thanks to fuel cells?

Without a doubt, the size of the aircraft, the missions of the clients, the constraints of the ground infrastructure will influence our design choices. Typically, for small aircraft or Vtol, technically battery could be a solution to store energy for flight, but if customers request more range or more load capacity, we need to produce energy on board.

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