Aerospace conference embraces carbon-free flight

FAC chairman Graham Chisnall, Katherine Bennett CBE, CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, FAC chief executive David Barnes, and the FAC’s Alan Fisher
FAC chairman Graham Chisnall, Katherine Bennett CBE, CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, FAC chief executive David Barnes, and the FAC’s Alan Fisher

Farnborough Aerospace Consortium’s annual conference at the Berystede Hotel and Spa in Ascot on November 25th was the first face-to-face even since the start of the pandemic and it was a great success with nearly 100 delegates from across the region.

Delegates at the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium’s annual conference were left in no doubt about the future emphasis of the sector – sustainability. Speaker after speaker reinforced the message about the importance of a carbon-neutral industry.

Keynote addresses were made by Sir Stephen Hillier, chair of the Civil Aviation Authority, Katherine Bennett CBE, CEO of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, and David Morgan, director of flight operation at easyJet. The influence of Cop 26 was apparent throughout the day at the Berystede Hotel & Spa in Ascot where nearly 100 delegates were in attendance.

FAC chief executive David Barnes said: “It was our first major event since the pandemic and seeing everyone in person was extremely positive. Our keynote addresses were from hugely influential figures within the industry and we’re grateful to them for giving up their time. We also enjoyed hearing from many other speakers throughout the day including Claire Smith, head of fuel management at Airbus.

“The conference’s focus was on sustainable aviation and future flight technologies - themes which really galvanised everyone. It was also acknowledged that collaboration will be the quickest way to achieve what everybody wants – a sustainable, carbon-free future. And that means SMEs as well as the large companies working together in order to make the breakthroughs and share the working practices that will bring about that change.

“In terms of the future of fuel, an extremely strong case was made for hydrogen as being part of the solution. Once the image of the Hindenburg has been erased and the facts explained, hydrogen becomes highly attractive.

“We also heard that carbon-free fuel could be cheaper than conventional fuels by the 2040s. Being together in person it was wonderful to see people networking, making connections and I’m sure future collaborations began at the conference. As an industry we are still recovering from the pandemic and lockdowns remain an issue for aviation. But as we have seen over the last 19 months, aerospace businesses and their supply chain are incredibly resilient.

“I am sure that the British aerospace industry will emerge stronger and will continue to lead the world – with sustainability and carbon-free flight the new priorities.”

www.fac.org.uk

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