The European Aviation Vision 2050
It’s safe to say that European aviation now leads the world in both aviation products and services. However, industrial competition is become even fiercer from not only the old rival from the other side of the Atlantic, but from new and strong challengers like Brazil, Canada, China, India and Russia. Other than these countries, regional players - such as countries from the Middle East and Asia – have also emerged as strong competitors with the best air services and infrastructure as well. Will the Europeans’ technological leadership, which has played a very important part of the European success, continue to be their major competitive edge? What other factors will challenge its success?
European Aviation Set Highly Ambitious Goals for 2050
No doubt the first and foremost goal for Europe is to maintain global leadership through providing the best products and associated services in aeronautics and air transport. This is the goal according to Flightpath 2050 Europe’s Vision for Aviation, a report of a high-level group on aviation research. The other stated goal is to serve society’s needs, such as protecting the environment and enabling the use of sustainable energy and alternative energy sources, and meeting societal and market needs for affordable, sustainable, reliable and seamless connectivity for passengers and freight with sufficient capacity.
Airbus Concept Cabin 2050 Reinforces European Technological Leadership
In 2050, the passenger experience during flight will be something very important. That’s why at Le Bourget International Airshow in Paris during 20-26 June 2011 the world saw Airbus showcase its concept cabin, which it says is inspired by nature and features green technologies to make flying a more interactive experience for passengers.
Airbus says the aircraft’s bionic structure mimics the efficiency of bird bone, with an intelligent cabin wall membrane that will control air temperature and can become transparent to give passengers panoramic views. The futuristic cabin, says Airbus, will be an “integrated neural network,” creating an intelligent interface between passenger and plane. For instance, it says morphing seats will be able to change to your body shape, while smart-tech features will enable the harvesting of passenger body heat to power cabin features. In the smart-tech zone, Airbus predicts airlines will gear this area towards the more function-oriented passenger.
“By offering different levels of experience within each zone, airlines would be able to achieve price differentials and give more people access to the benefits of air travel with minimal environmental impact,” says Airbus. It also says the concept cabin will be 100% recyclable and will feature self-cleaning materials made from sustainable plant fibers.
Safety and Security: the Aviation World’s Greatest Concern
If there was one thing that caused US aviation to not be fully successful or competitive with the European side, it was the safety issue. According to the article “Air Travel Security Since 9/11” of the RAND Corporation, 7,019 people died worldwide in hull-loss aviation accidents between 2001 and 2009 (excluding military incidents). From this, approximately 200 died as a result of terrorism since 9/11. Though the article insisted that air travel is still the safest kind of transportation, the psychological impact of terrorism is still rooted deeply in people’s minds. For sure, terrorism will still be the number one enemy of the aviation industry: not just for the US, but also Europe and any other place in the world.