MIAMI – The Airbus Summit 2021 launched today with the overarching themes of the gathering being sustainability and decarbonization in aviation and how Airbus, following up on its Pioneering Sustainable Aerospace initiative, and the industry can come together to implement the necessary solutions to reach net-zero emissions. 

The Airbus Summit brings together renowned aerospace experts, operators, thinkers, journalists (Airways included), influencers, and policymakers from around the world. This industry-wide conversation explores the innovations and cross-sector partnerships that will significantly change the way we travel.

On its first of two days, the Summit covered the technological challenge of effectively decarbonizing aviation, eVTOLs and electrification strategies, and the perspectives from airline CEOs’ on what the net-zero roadmap looks like.

On this last topic, one key takeaway from today’s gathering is that efficient decarbonization entails energy-efficient flight and that technology is the key to achieving this important objective.

Flight AF7518 Demostrator

The demonstration today was by Air France (AF) Flight AF7518, carrying the AF delegation from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (TLS) to take part at the Summit. The aircraft flew an optimized trajectory, including continuous climb and descent, one engine taxying, and hybrid tows (TaxiBot) for ground movements.

This single demonstrator flight cut emissions by 5% and saved two tons of CO², a huge result for a single flight that gives a clear idea of the number of emissions reduced if the optimization of trajectory could be applied on a global scale.

The experiment is part of a series of planned trials to take place during 2021-2022 within the framework of the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) ALBATROSS project.

Image: Airbus


ALBATROSS, a large scale project funded by the EU and launched in February 2021, is the initiative of major European aviation stakeholders lead by Airbus with the scope to demonstrate, by means of a series of gate-to-gate flights across Europe, that the implementation of “most energy-efficient flights” is possible in the short term by combining research and development, technical, and operational innovations.

The way ALBATROSS operates is to “follow a holistic approach by covering all flight phases” bringing together all major stakeholders such as airlines, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), network managers, airports, and industry to address operational and technological aspects of aviation and Air Traffic Management (ATM).

“All the combined solutions will allow us to extend the benefits expected while covering all the flight phases, including operations on the ground and during the flight, and addressing both operational and technological aspects of aviation and Air Traffic Management (ATM)” Mattia Nurisso, ATM Engineering Manager at Airbus

Image: Airbus

Technology Solutions to Be Applied

According to Airbus, flight demonstrators will show in practice the following solutions that can be applied in aviation: new precise approach procedures, continuous climbs, more dynamically managed and enhanced descents, necessary airspace constraints, sustainable taxying by using single-engine techniques or hybrid ground tows and using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Thanks to new technology that allows for the transmission of four-dimensional flight trajectory data, ATM will be able to optimize and better predict an aircraft’s path with an immediate and concrete effect on the flight’s environmental footprint.

Starting from September, ALBATROSS live trials will involve approximately 1,000 flights to showcase the above-mentioned operational solutions and the potential fuel and CO² emissions saving results expected to be implemented by 2022.

Stay tuned to Airways for more coverage of Airbus’ electrification strategy and final concept for the Airbus eVTOL and day two of the Airbus Summit 2021 tomorrow.

Featured image: Airbus Summit 2021: Pioneering Sustainable Aerospace. Photo: Airbus via YouTube