5. The Challenges for Research & Technology
5.1 Meeting the Needs of an Advanced Society
The challenge is to improve passenger and business appeal for air transport in Europe whilst absorbing a sustained and rapid growth in traffic.
Any strategy must embrace the goals of safer, quieter aircraft that produce fewer emissions.
of noise on communities around airports has been much reduced as a result
of new technology applications. The example of Heathrow is typical -
despite an 80% increase in the number of flights since 1974 the number
of people disturbed by noise has dropped by 80%.
Whilst noise affects a relatively small number of people aircraft emissions can affect us all. Early jet airliners were both noisy and dirty, leaving trails of smoky fuel in their wake. Their successors today are much improved, both quieter and cleaner. Today the impact of aircraft emissions is small: less than 3.5% of all man-made global CO2 emission is accountable to aeronautics. However, the demand for air transport is growing strongly and threatens to outpace the rate at which the application of new technology can deliver improvements. It represents a major technical challenge over the long term.
New generations of aircraft are demonstrably and significantly safer than older generations. However, with the current growth of air transportation, the number of accidents risks to increase substantially. This represents a major challenge for research and aviation operations in order to achieve a quantum leap forward in safety.