Industry leaders advocate for ‘radical collaboration’ at Sustainable Skies World Summit 2024

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The Sustainable Skies World Summit 2024 witnessed a strong call for “radical collaboration” among government, aviation fuel providers, and the wider industry to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. CEOs Shai Weiss of Virgin Atlantic and Sean Doyle of British Airways emphasised the need for unified efforts during a panel discussion that included Julie Kitcher, Chief Sustainability Officer at Airbus, and Brian Moran, Chief Sustainability Officer at Boeing.

During the summit, which took place at Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre on May 15-16, industry leaders highlighted the progress made in sustainable technology and the importance of increased investment to reduce carbon emissions. The panellists agreed that while original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and airlines have significant roles, broader industry and governmental support are crucial to meeting environmental targets.

Shai Weiss of Virgin Atlantic stressed the necessity of collaborative efforts for decarbonisation, including fleet modernisation and the wide adoption of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). He highlighted Virgin Atlantic’s recent findings from Flight100, demonstrating SAF as a viable 100% drop-in replacement for fossil fuels. Weiss urged for sufficient SAF production to meet the industry’s needs, ensuring that sustainable options do not limit consumer choices or accessibility to air travel.

The summit attracted international aviation leaders, UK government officials, and global media, focusing on accelerating global standards and fostering collaboration. Notably, Anthony Browne MP, Minister for Aviation, Decarbonisation, and the Future of Transport, and Mark Harper MP, Secretary of State for Transport, participated in discussions and roundtables to promote the UK’s efforts in achieving zero-emission aviation.

Gareth Rogers, CEO of Farnborough International, emphasised the summit’s role in driving meaningful change within the aerospace and aviation sectors. He noted that the discussions would advance strategies and partnerships, with continued conversations anticipated at the Farnborough International Airshow in July.

The event showcased the latest in sustainable aviation technology from industry pioneers, including British Airways, Rolls-Royce, and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions. Haffner Energy announced a new SAF production project, Paris-Vatry SAF, to address the growing demand for decarbonised air transport using their patented thermolysis process on local biomass residues.

With over 40 speakers and a 24% increase in registration, the Sustainable Skies World Summit demonstrated a strong commitment to creating a sustainable future for aviation. The summit will return on May 14-15, 2025, continuing its mission to unite industry leaders in the fight against climate change.

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