Fly Your Ideas Challenges 2015

We want students to propose ideas that correspond to six key challenges for aviation in the 21st Century.

Find out more about the six areas we have identified by clicking on each challenge on the right


  • Energy

    Energy

    The cost of powering aircraft with jet fuel, the current source of aviation energy will rise as...

  • Efficiency

    Efficiency

    Driving down the real costs (monetary and environmental) of aviation will be achieved by...

  • Affordable Growth

    Affordable Growth

    We’ll need more aircraft to meet this extra demand and replace existing aircraft, with an...

  • Traffic Growth

    Traffic Growth

    Since the 1980s the number of flights has more than doubled allowing more people around the world to...

  • Passenger Experience

    Passenger Experience

    Passengers want safety and efficiency with comfort and entertainment on board - but the...

  • Community Friendliness

    Community Friendliness

    As airports have grown, so too have the communities around them, benefiting from the...

Energy

The cost of powering those aircraft with jet fuel, the current source of aviation energy, will rise as reserves reduce. Fuel is currently 25% or more of an airline’s operating cost and we can now fly almost twice as far on each kilo of fuel than 40 years ago. However, we’re now flying ten times further than we were in the ‘70s.

Energy

ENERGY

  • Jet fuel is the current source of aviation energy.  As reserves reduce, prices will rise. Although air travel is much more fuel efficient than 40 year ago (we can now fly almost twice as far on each kilo of fuel), we are also now flying 10 times further than in the 1970’s, so our overall level of consumption has increased.
  • Fuel is currently 25% or more of an airline’s operating cost.  But prices are volatile and subject to external pressures – for example, political uncertainties in oil-producing nations. 
  • Reducing our reliance on fossil fuel will be positive for the environment as well ultimately reduce cost to the customer.

Recent Airbus Innovations

The Electric Plane - the Airbus E-FAN

This is a small experimental aircraft powered entirely by electricity. Its current maximum flying time is around 30 minutes, which we hope extend to over an hour by DATE. Next, we want to expand the E-FAN into a 4 seater aircraft, using a hybrid system, with the eventual aim of expanding electric power into wider commercial flight, and so reduce the sector's jet fuel use.

But here’s the conundrum. The A380 has a wingspan of 262 feet and can theoretically carry up to 853 people, but the diminutive E-Fan 2.0 has a wingspan of just 31 feet and carries 2 passengers.


Airbus Future Concepts

Biofuel

Sustainable aviation fuels produced from renewable resources can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80% per tonne of fuel. Finding sustainable fuels that can be produced in commercial quantities (without competing with food crops and water supplies) is the only medium-term alternative to fossil fuels in order to power large commercial jetliners.

Alternative fuels have powered around 1,500 commercial flights to date.  We believe that up to a third of aviation fuel could come from alternative sources by 2030.


Fuel Cells

A fuel cell transforms chemical energy from a fuel (such as hydrogen) into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen, or another oxidizing agent. The only waste is water, heat and oxygen-depleted air,  which would contribute to reductions in emissions and noise when applied aboard an airliner.

Water produced from this process also can be used by the aircraft’s water and waste systems, so reducing the amount of water an aircraft needs on board. Reducing weight will also decrease fuel consumption and emissions.

As far back as 2008, Airbus, DLR and Michelin performed flight evaluations of a fuel cell emergency power system on a test bed A320. The fuel cell was installed on a cargo pallet and produced 25 kW of electrical power – operating the electric motor pump for the aircraft’s back-up hydraulic circuit, and controlling the spoilers, ailerons and elevator actuator.



OVER TO YOU

How will your idea accelerate one of these initiatives into commercial development? Or perhaps you’ve got another way of solving the energy challenge for us to explore?


Efficiency

Driving down the real costs (monetary and environmental) of aviation will be achieved by continuing to improve the efficiency of new aircraft, make better use of resources and improve business performance all round.


Efficiency

Affordable Growth

We’ll need more aircraft to meet this extra demand and replace existing aircraft, with an operating life of 20 to 30 years, with more fuel efficient variants. This means affordable growth is essential - by lowering the cost of manufacturing and increasing reliability and efficiency of passenger aircraft.

Affordable Growth

Traffic Growth

Since the 1980s the number of flights has more than doubled, allowing more people around the world to enjoy the benefits of air transport. People want to fly and people want to fly more. As economies grow and people get wealthier, we predict that traffic growth will continue to double in the next 15 years, making the skies extremely busy and taking airports to maximum capacity.


Traffic Growth

Passenger Experience

Passengers want safety and efficiency with comfort and entertainment on board - but the passenger experience begins before you fly. On short haul flights, the time spent on check-in and boarding alone can frustratingly take longer than the flight itself, and this doesn’t include and time spent on baggage management.

Passenger Experience

Community Friendliness

As airports have grown, so too have the communities around them.  They benefit from the jobs and commerce that are drawn to airports, but at times also suffer from increases to airport operations. Reducing noise, air pollution and local traffic congestion means community friendliness has to be considered, especially as capacity around the world increases.

Community Friendliness
  • 21ST CENTURY CHALLENGES FOR THE AVIATION INDUSTRY

    Today, over 1,000 commercial airlines operate more than 15,000 airliners, carrying 3.1bn people and 51.7m tonnes of freight every year. An Airbus aircraft takes off or lands every two seconds.

21ST CENTURY CHALLENGES FOR THE AVIATION INDUSTRY

Today, over 1,000 commercial airlines operate more than 15,000 airliners, carrying 3.1bn people and 51.7m tonnes of freight every year. An Airbus aircraft takes off or lands every two seconds.

But despite the rising costs of resources, flying is now 60% cheaper in real terms (for passengers and freight) than it was in the 1970s. More and more of us are now enjoying the benefits of a smaller world in comfort. Aircraft are lighter, quieter and more efficient than ever.

Amazing isn’t it - so why change a thing?

Let’s take a glimpse into the future as we see it where growth, efficiency and people will be at the heart of a thriving aviation industry. For Fly Your Ideas 2015 we have set out six key challenges that we want to focus on with you, to help reach this vision of the future!

Take a look, then put your team together to innovate for the future of aviation. And do check back in over the next few weeks, as we’ll be sharing some insights from industry leaders on the issues at stake, as well as the state of the art technology associated with each challenge.

Over to you…