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EUROCONTROL hosts the first General Assembly of the Alliance for Zero-Emission Aviation (AZEA)

Eamnonn Brennan and Thierry Breton at AZEA general assembly 2022

Preparing the aviation ecosystem for the entry into service of hydrogen and electric aircraft is the goal of the Alliance for Zero-Emission Aviation (AZEA), which held its first General Assembly today at EUROCONTROL.

A voluntary initiative that EUROCONTROL joined earlier this year, spearheaded by the Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DEFIS) of the European Commission, the Alliance brings together aviation representatives to respond to the challenges that will need to be met for a successful adoption of hydrogen and electric flight technologies in Europe. EUROCONTROL will contribute its unique air traffic data and state-of-the-art modelling capability to support the integration of zero-emission aircraft into the European network. This will include forecasts to supporting the definition of rollout scenarios, helping identify operational and financial incentives for flights operated by such aircraft, as well as assessing fuelling requirements and green energy needs at the network level.

EUROCONTROL’s Director General Eamonn Brennan welcomed the Alliance members to the first General Assembly, underlining how:

“Together with public and private partners, EUROCONTROL is supporting the preparation of aviation's decarbonisation ecosystem for zero-emission technology aircraft. Our goal is to help the Alliance take informed decisions so we can best tackle the challenges ahead as we seek to integrate these new technology aircraft into the European air traffic network of the future.” 

In his keynote address Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market stressed:

“There has never been a more compelling case for hydrogen-powered and electric aircraft. Our engineers are closer than ever before to realising the objective of zero-emission flight, and the growing number of start-ups in this domain bears witness to the dynamism of the aeronautic industry. This process will only work if the entire industrial ecosystem is involved – this is where the Alliance comes in. It will help address all the enabling conditions for zero emission aircraft to take off: innovation, investment, infrastructure, regulation.”

Thierry Breton European commissioner for the Internal Market

The welcoming keynotes were followed by a lively roundtable discussion which saw the Commissioner exchange views on how zero-emission aircraft can be made a success with Glenn Llewellyn of Airbus, Meiltje De Groot of Groningen Airport, Jérémy Caussade of AURA AERO, and Jo Dardenne of Transport & Environment.

Round-table discussion featuring, from left to right: moderator Cathy Buyck, Jérémy Caussade, Meiltje de Groot, Thierry Breton, Jo Dardenne, and Glenn Llewellyn

From left to right: moderator Cathy Buyck, Jérémy Caussade, Co-Founder of Aura Aero, Meiltje de Groot, CEO of Groningen Airport, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Jo Dardenne, Aviation Director at Transport & Environment, and Glenn Llewellyn, Vice-President Zero Emission Aircraft at Airbus

As the Alliance looks to prepare the market for the entry into service of zero-emission aircraft, work priorities will focus on the fuel and infrastructure requirements of hydrogen and electric aircraft at airports, on standardisation and certification, and on the implications for operators (airlines) and air traffic management - as well as proposing practical solutions to overcome these. EUROCONTROL is a member of the AZEA steering committee, and will be leading the working group on the integration of electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft into the European network.

See photos and video of the event

AZEA first general assembly

Background

On 24 June, Thierry Breton (Commissioner Internal Market) officially launched the Alliance for Zero Emission Aviation (AZEA), calling on the members of the aviation community to join forces in preparing for the advent of zero-emission aircraft. AZEA gathers representatives from aircraft manufacturers, airlines, airports, energy companies and fuel providers, standardisation and certification agencies, passenger and environmental interest groups and regulators. The Alliance builds on the findings of the Destination 2050 roadmap – the commitment of the European aviation industry to ensure that air transport in Europe meets Europe’s climate objectives for 2050.