Business aviation has come a long way, baby. It’s broadening its horizons to embrace inclusivity and reach a wider, younger, and more travel savvy audience. On-demand air travel remains a cost-effective, time saver for busy executives. And while time and money remain top priorities for companies, so too is the environment. With growth, therefore, comes increasing environmental responsibility – a global concern that business aviation has taken on!
Combining business aviation’s two most powerful selling points – efficiency and convenience – vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) the way helicopters depart and land – is set to further enhance these features. Reducing the time taken to conventionally lift-off and touch down, and eliminating the requirement for runways, VTOL aims to increase capacity for aerial departures and arrivals to remote or urban settings.
What comes next? Supporting the business aviation industry’s commitment to reduce noise and environmental impact, VTOL manufacturers have gone further and integrated electric propulsion to develop the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) model. A recent study undertaken by the University of Michigan and Ford found that eVTOL aircraft are more optimal – in regards to energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – than even electric cars.
Currently, at the forefront of aviation initiatives are sustainable alternative jet fuels (SAJFs) – a promising class of non-petroleum fuels. In a further demonstration of the industry’s commitment to promoting and using SAJFs, the 2019 edition of EBACE kicked off with its first-ever SAJF fly-in, with 23 aircraft powered by SAJFs flying to Geneva for the event. The fly-in reinforced the fact that SAJFs are safe and do not impact aircraft performance – while simultaneously reducing carbon aircraft emissions and contributing to environmental targets. The success of this fly-in prompted the European Commission’s head of Aviation Policy for the Department for Mobility and Transport, Flor Diaz Pulido, to declare that, “SAJFs can be a gamechanger in terms of something disruptive to help the aviation industry decarbonize faster.”
Current evolutions and developments within the business aviation industry are part of a wider trend to disrupt conventional industries with better, more sustainable, and less impactful practices. The industry has clearly understood the importance of investment, not only in technologies but also in its talent and workforce. For example, for the second year in a row, the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) will sponsor and send 10 delegates to the One Young World global summit, to represent the business aviation industry.
Reaping the rewards of investment takes time! But business aviation is in it for the long haul. By investing in newer technologies and preparing its workforce, it is taking the necessary steps to successfully adapt its business model for changes to come. The future looks promising!