A look back at the Paris Air Forum – June 7, 2022

This live event was entirely online available in a perfect user friendly and convenient way. Cordula Barzantny took par to the event in a residential way and kindly shared her wrap-up below.

Paris Air Forum 2022 :“Ré-enchanter le Progress, Rekindling the Thrill of Progress

By Cordula Barzantny, June 2022

After two years of virtual meetings for the public during the Covid-19 crisis, finally a new and 9th edition of the Paris Air Forum which is offered again in Maison de la Mutualité in Paris, on Tuesday June 7, 2022, in hybrid format to allow the largest audience to follow the debates on-site and remotely.

After the opening by Max Armanet (president of Forum Media, and co-founder, partner and president of the scientific committee of the Paris Air Forum from its first edition in 2014)

Jean-Christophe Tortora (president of La Tribune) welcomes the public with great joy to finally be able to renew face-to-face contacts and interpersonal interactions without always having interposed screens.

The host and co-founder of the Paris Air Forum Augustin de Romanet (CEO of ADP) is delighted to be able to offer this day of dialogue and exchanges once again at the highest levels for the progress and innovation of the sector and across generations about our aeronautics and space industry, civil and military. All these aerospace fields from civil to military have been successively integrated with their delegates present at the Forum since the first edition. Although the round tables and discussions between executives and managers initially brought together mainly representatives of international civil aviation, the Paris Air Forum quickly expanded with four parallel sessions on the aeronautical industry with manufacturers and subcontractors from the whole value chain as well as defense and space; always in a European and international context, reflecting the global scope of the aerospace sector.

Since the challenges for the aviation and aerospace sector are indeed on the scale of Europe and beyond, Jean-Christophe Tortora reminds the audience in the auditorium as well as on the on-line streaming that only together we will go farer.

If in the beginning the Paris Air Forum in 2014 was initially focused on the competitiveness of air transport with companies under pressure, the Forum has extended to space and defense with more and more industrialists, organizations and institutions present in the different, consecutive editions.

Today, the themes of energy for air transport and particularly SAF (sustainable aviation fuel) and the evolution of solutions with hydrogen as well as electrification, for example, are important issues in order to accelerate the development of energy transition and sustainable development for aviation. It is also the first industry committed to concrete greenhouse gas reduction targets and which has demonstrated continuous technical progress since 2000 and a firm engagement at IATA member level since 2010.[1] This commitment is in line with the Paris Agreements not to exceed global warming climate above 1.5°C. If the use of SAF seems to be an activity guided by passenger demand, the call for energy companies (such as Neste, TotalEnergies, Engie, etc.) appears to be an important orientation to reflect on and find solutions together.

The message from Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, interviewed by Philippe Mabille (Editing Director of La Tribune) brought up another challenge with Ukraine – at war with Russia and the consequences of this conflict: Tensions over energy, the cessation of space cooperation, the interruption of supply chains and the awareness for more harmonization and pooling of defense capabilities in the united European Union (EU) in the face of the threat of war.

This war arouses the need to reflect and concretize European cooperation for a common defense with a political will for association and lively relations with our allies, especially with NATO.

Spatial independence and autonomy are important for Europe and new technologies also nurture the potential for innovation.

The general theme of the Paris Air Forum 2022 “Re-enchanting Progress then gave rise to parallel sessions in four rooms on the themes of aviation, defense, space and the aerospace industry with the full value chain and industrial partners from manufacturing to maintenance and services. The round tables brought together leaders and experts from each field, sparking discussions on major issues such as “Aviation: Can progress recreate the dream?”, “Is there a realistic eco-trajectory?”, “Will the Airplane have its place in the energy world to come?”, “Which air transport for tomorrow?” and also important geopolitical themes such as “From Ukraine to the Supply Chain, the challenges of relocation” and “Spatial sovereignty! Findings and ambition after Ukraine and the Toulouse summit” as well as “How can France strengthen its sovereignty?” and “How does geopolitics impact the ecological transition?”. There are also themes on Newspace as well as “How to attract talent in aviation?”.

(The complete program in the 4 rooms is available on https://parisairforum.fr/#1652947132465-9ba05738-3dc0)

A key word that recurs throughout the Paris Air Forum this year is necessarily the concern with sustainable development, decarbonization and the possibilities of energy and technological transition with the questions “What air transport for tomorrow?” and ‘How to secure low-carbon, smarter and accessible air transport in terms of volume and price?’

In the re-enchantment and progress of aviation as well as aerospace, digitalization seems to be omnipresent with issues such as cybersecurity as well as energy consumption for the global digital sector (link: Digital power consumption)[2], much more greedy than air transport in its current carbon footprint. Thus, increasing digitalization also poses the challenge for sustainable development of any sector, including aviation and questions about its growth, decline or sobriety. And the environmental awareness of young people (mainly in the most economically advanced countries) is much more present in relation to aviation than to the digital sector (!). Ecological transformations are very necessary for all industries, not only for aviation, if we wish to preserve our planet.

The day was surrounded by interviews with important personalities and leaders of Airbus (CEO Guillaume Faury) as well as of IATA (CEO Willie Walsh), who testify about the changes following the Covid-19 crisis which shook the global civil aviation sector. Aviation is the connecting factor across continents with the possibility of efficient mobility that is committed to greatly reducing its impact on the environment with the elimination of net carbon emissions by 2050 (IATA netzero 2050).

For the rapprochement of peoples, the plane is essential, and it must be decided, also at the political level, whether air transport should remain accessible for a greater number of travelers by always providing the emotion of flying in addition to smarter and more sustainable mobility.

To do this, the entire aerospace value chain is called upon and hiring has resumed in this sector with the difficulty today of (re)identifying and retaining talent.

The question whether there is a realistic eco-trajectory requires common rules according to the geographical and socio-economic situation of each country; there are preferences and imperatives (notably in Europe), but we are aware in the EU of having to harmonize and standardize and to speak with a single well-defined voice in front of the United States and China. Thus, we must propose a technologically acceptable future with standardized regulations that will be applicable by all countries, obviously compatible with safety and security, imperatives for aviation. Then, we must also be realistic and consider the singularities of the continents (Africa, Asia, etc.), regions of which a tiny minority have already flown, but where there are strong expectations of being able to travel and discover the world thanks to development, increasing opportunities for citizens and young generations in emerging economies.

Despite differences in terms and timing, we must move towards decarbonization for the entire planet and get there quickly. Within a reasonable time, humanity must define a common calendar with regulations and certifications that must go faster to take advantage of what valid models and technologies offer. The growth potential of air transport seems immense, because only 5% of the inhabitants of the earth have already taken the plane. It is currently estimated that greenhouse gases will amount to between 3% to 9% in 2050 for global emissions by air transport, so the challenges of innovation for decarbonization and emerging from crises require rigor, optimism, and optimization of resources plus a need for qualified people with the issues of recruitment and retention. To set a realistic trajectory for the evolution of air transport, which is the role of politicians, it is also necessary to involve all stakeholders such as NGOs and continue the dialogue with civil society for a responsible, progressive transition.

In addition to the need to create European champions in cybersecurity, digitalization and energy transition, major (public) programs are needed to maintain skills at the global level in highly competitive sectors. Frequent crises require resilience and all organizations in the aerospace sector need to transform, re-develop, and deploy their capabilities. An effective security and defense system will also go down the path of socio-economic and sustainable transition to contribute to Peace from a position of strength.

After a day rich in exchanges and relevant information from experts and representatives of the sector, Max Armanet and Augustin de Romanet closed the event with the observation that decarbonization is acquired because customers (passengers) demand it;

airports must cooperate and persevere with airlines to decarbonize air transport and all levers must be activated throughout the value chain with industry, authorities and research for the various technological, organizational, socio-economic and political solutions.

See you for the next, 10th edition of the Paris Air Forum which will take place on the Friday before BOURGET 2023!

[1]   https://www.ecologie.gouv.fr/emissions-gazeuses-liees-au-trafic-aerien
    Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050 : https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/2021-releases/2021-10-04-03/

[2] https://www.notre-environnement.gouv.fr/rapport-sur-l-etat-de-l-environnement/themes-ree/pressions-exercees-par-les-modes-de-production-et-de-consommation/prelevements-de-ressources-naturelles/energie/article/numerique-et-consommation-energetique#:~:text=Le%20num%C3%A9rique%20consomme%2056%20TWh,du%20num%C3%A9rique%20(45%20TWh)

Recordings of the life stream to relive the event:



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