Aerospace industry says net-zero is an opportunity

Sir Michael Ryan CBE addressing the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium’s conference
Sir Michael Ryan CBE addressing the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium’s conference

Farnborough Aerospace Consortium’s annual conference was addressed by keynote speaker Sir Michael Ryan CBE who said net-zero was a huge opportunity.

The business veteran is vice-president, European Space and Defence, Government Affairs, and chairman of Spirit AeroSystems UK – amongst other senior roles.

He spoke to almost 100 delegates at the Elvetham Hotel near Hook in Hampshire and said ‘net-zero’ is the ‘single driving force behind aerospace plans’. He added that this was ‘the biggest technological challenge since the dawn of the jet-age’ but that it was a ‘generational opportunity’.

FAC Chief Executive Alan Fisher, left, and its chairman, Graham Chisnall, right

To achieve net-zero, Sir Michael said, ‘means we have to work better together; all sectors, supply chains and academia’. Afterwards he said: “It was great to be in an area of historical importance in aviation and aerospace, both in capability and innovation, and to be part of a dynamic regional association body.”

The event heard from a dozen speakers in a packed day titled ‘Destination Net Zero’, and there were lively question and answer sessions. Speakers included Paul Griffiths, head of AerospaceHub, BEIS, Oriel Petry, Senior VP of Airbus and Steve Gillard, UK Sustainability director and International Defence Sustainability Leader. Others who addressed the conference were Stephen Cowan, VP general manager GKN Aerospace Defence, Samira Braund, CEO at UK Defence Solutions Centre, and Professor Iain Gray CBE, director of Aerospace at Cranfield University.

Alan Fisher, chief executive of FAC, said: “A the start of the day we remembered Tony Barnett, a long-time member, and the upbeat, optimistic nature of the day was something he’d have welcomed. Net-zero was seen as a huge opportunity in aerospace – a way of keeping the UK in its position as world leaders in the sector. It’s not to say that difficulties weren’t addressed – particularly lack of skills and a difficult recruitment landscape – but solutions were put forward.

“Our keynote speakers are some of the most influential thought leaders in the country and provided great insights, market intelligence and statistics. The message of collaboration was delivered by many speakers who said it was the key to achieving net-zero. Question and answer sessions were lively and I understand plenty of business was done. We are grateful to all our speakers to take time out in order to address the delegates and to fully engage with them through the day.”

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