On Wednesday 18 November, the 5th EU Aeronautics Conference gathered EU decision-makers and industrial representatives to discuss tools, decisions and actions needed at EU level to support the European aeronautics industry through two unprecedented challenges: recovering from the COVID-19 crisis and fulfilling its commitment towards the European Green Deal and the climate neutrality objective by 2050.
Co-organised by the Sky and Space Intergroup and the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), the now well-established annual conference took place as a virtual high-level seminar. The event gathered high-level speakers from the EU institutions and industry:
- Adina-Ioana Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport
- Marian-Jean Marinescu, MEP, Member of the Transport and Tourism Committee, Chair of the Sky and Space Intergroup
- Cristian-Silviu Bușoi, MEP, Chair of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee
- Jan-Christoph Oetjen, MEP, Vice-Chair of the Transport and Tourism Committee
- Isabel García Muñoz, MEP, Vice-Chair of the Budget Control Committee, Member of the Transport and Tourism Committee, Sky and Space Intergroup (SSI) Vice-Chair
- Christophe Grudler, MEP, Member of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee, SSI Vice-Chair
- Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency • Alessandro Profumo, President of ASD and CEO of Leonardo
- Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus
- Arndt Schoenemann, Managing Director of Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg GmbH
- Philippe Petitcolin, CEO of Safran
The panellists all noted that the industry had been strongly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, not only major Original Equipment Manufacturers and their workforce but also on the many supply chain companies including mid-cap suppliers and SMEs. Panellists called for immediate actions and coordination at European level for the restart of the international civil aviation and for continued investments into actions that will help the decarbonisation of civil aviation in the medium and long term.
Marian-Jean Marinescu MEP (EPP), SSI Chair, declared that “the cornerstone of the Aeronautics sector recovery is the proactive role that should play the EU. Public support at EU-level is key to meet the 2050 climate neutrality goal. In that perspective, the EU Institutions should increase public co-funding for civil aviation research and develop public incentive tools for sustainable alternative fuels and fleet renewal.”
Adina-Ioana Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport gave the concluding remarks of this high-level online seminar. She commended the recent Aviation Round Table Report1 which brings together the whole aviation sector with a plan to make sure that the recovery transforms the sector into a more sustainable one. Referring to InvestEU and the Recovery and Resilience Facility, she underlined that “it is vital that the national recovery and resilience plans address the needs of the aeronautics sector”. She highlighted the key role played by the EU, with medium to long-term measures such as the upcoming RefuelEU aviation initiative. Finally, she echoed the call made by the industry during the panel discussion, by emphasizing the Commission’s efforts to encourage a coordinated and harmonised approach regarding tests and travel rules to support a faster recovery of the civil aviation supply chain.
At the occasion of this event, the Sky and Space Intergroup adopted recommendations on the “EU Aeronautics towards recovery and climate neutrality”. One of the key elements of the recommendations is the call for the set-up of European Aviation and Aeronautics Recovery Plan to support a sustainable aviation roadmap and a future competitiveness, in order to ensure that Europe remains a leader in terms of sustainable and green recovery of the aviation sector.
The recommendations also highlight the need to safeguard the European Financial Instruments, finance the public-private partnerships as essential drivers to the recovery in the next decade, invest in the European Air Traffic Management system (ATM), to accelerate the digital transformation of the industry, to mitigate social consequences of industry recovery plans due to the COVID crisis and adapt workforce to post-crisis challenges.