Carrots and sticks needed to achieve sustainability goals, says Airbus

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By Tom Batchelor

February 22, 2024, © Leeham News:  The sustainability challenge is redefining the aerospace industry in all sorts of ways.

An Airbus A350-1000 is refuelled with a 35% blend of SAF prior to its participation at the 2024 Singapore Airshow’s flying display. Credit: Airbus

For Airbus, which spent €3.2bn on research and development last year, that comes in the form of clean-sheet designs for hydrogen-powered aircraft that promise to reduce in-flight carbon emissions to zero. The European planemaker’s ambition is to bring to market the world's first such commercial aircraft by 2035.

But Airbus is also working on a successor to the A320 family, referred to as the “next-generation single-aisle” aircraft. At the company’s full-year briefing on February 15, more details were revealed about the aircraft, including confirmation that it would run entirely on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

“We’re working on technology to develop the next short-to-medium range aircraft before the end of the next decade, which will be capable of flying up to 100% SAF,” Julie Kitcher, Airbus’ chief sustainability officer, told LNA in Toulouse. “It will be much more fuel efficient, but also feature a new wing design and new materials; we’re working on a lifecycle approach to this aircraft.”

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