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European Aeronautics : A vision for 2020 - Contents
European Aeronautics : A Vision for 2020


A Vision for European Aeronautics in 2020

In the next few pages, our vision offers the beginnings of a design for satisfying aeronautics primary need for world class standards of innovation and technology. It should not be read as a promise nor a prediction. We cannot know today precisely what technologies will be available to the civil aircraft of 2020 and beyond, but we do know that our competitive position will be fatally undermined unless we reach out for them.


Responding to society's needs

Air travel will not develop in a vacuum: its size, shape and success will be determined by society as a whole. Aeronautics must satisfy constantly rising demands for lower travel costs, better service quality, the very highest safety and environmental standards and an air transport system that is seamlessly integrated with other transport networks.

Quality and Affordability

In 2020, the stressed-out passenger and the anxious freight forwarder belong to aviation past, not present. There are no more queues and interminable waiting for a delayed departure or arrival. From start to finish, the entire flying experience is designed to ensure a contented traveller and satisfied shipper. At all prices, an airline ticket buys the four Cs:

The consumer constructs his or her journey from a palette of satisfying choices. There are more routes and more flights to and from most destinations. A network of regional airports provides easier access to air travel. Flying is a much more customised experience, with on-board choice extending far beyond different price categories, hot or cold meals and a couple of movies.

Cabin facilities may cater for different needs for those who want to work, for example, or play games, access video or audio libraries, or spend most of their journey reading and sleeping.

Once more, an airline timetable is something that can be relied upon. Departure and arrival times are dependable in all traffic densities and weathers, except the most apocalyptic. Airports are no longer a test of the traveller's stamina and patience. Thanks to electronic check-in, automated luggage-handling and advanced people-moving, passage through the buildings at both ends of the journey is steady and smooth. Nor is flying the isolating experience it used to be. All the benefits of the information society are available on demand through the system of advanced telecommunications linking the aircraft to the world below.

People come in all shapes and sizes and so do the choices of available seats and leg room. Cabins are very much more passenger-friendly than they were 20 years ago and offer the same well air-conditioned comforts as home and office. Aircraft interiors are no more cursed by noise, vibrations and turbulence than an executive car travelling at motorway speed.

In 2020, the European airline system is operating with greater efficiency and making much better use of aircraft and flying space. In addition, European-built aircraft cost less to own, operate and maintain, savings that are passed on to paying passengers.



Punctuality: 99% of all flights arriving and departing within 15 minutes of the published timetable, in all weather conditions.

Time spent in airports: no more than 15 minutes in the airport before departure and after arrival for short-haul flights, and 30 minutes for long haul.

A steady and continuous fall in travel charges through substantial cuts in operating costs.

Passenger choice: the same choice of facilities that are available on other forms of transport including leg room, flexible seating and office facilities incorporating state of the art communications. A greater choice of flights from regional locations.

Air freight services: a larger percentage (by value) of cargo travels by air because it is more competitive with land and sea transport and it is fully integrated into a seamless intermodal freight transport system.



In 2020, the skies are safer than ever before because safety has remained the top priority of the aircraft builders and operators and of air traffic managers.

Aeronautics has made huge steps towards eliminating accidents altogether by designs and automatic systems that lighten the burdens on the crew and help them make correct decisions.

Other causes of accidents are addressed by monitoring systems designed to react to technical problems immediately they occur.



Aircraft will achieve a five-fold reduction in the average accident rate of global operators.

Aircraft will drastically reduce the impact of human error.

Higher standards of training for aircraft operations and maintenance and for air traffic management.



In 2020, aircraft are cleaner and quieter and the aeronautics sector's contribution to a sustainable environment is widely understood and appreciated. Many of its products are made of recyclable materials and have minimal environmental impact. Though hydrocarbon-based fuel is still the main source of energy, the range and volume of damaging emissions has been substantially reduced.

Aircraft noise is no longer a political and social issue. It has ceased to be a nuisance to people living close to airports thanks to a concerted effort to develop quieter engines, optimise operational procedures and improve land planning and use around airports.


Total engagement by the industry in the task of studying and minimising the industry's impact on the global environment.

A reduction in perceived noise to one half of current average levels.

Eliminate noise nuisance outside the airport boundary by day and night by quieter aircraft, better land planning and use around airports and systematic use of noise reduction procedures.

A 50% cut in CO2 emissions per passenger kilometre (which means a 50% cut in fuel consumption in the new aircraft of 2020) and an 80% cut in nitrogen oxide emissions.


European Air Transport System

In 2020, Europe has managed to create a seamless system of air traffic management that copes with up to three times more aircraft movements than today by using airspace and airports intensively and safely. The development of sophisticated ground and satellite-based communication, navigation and surveillance systems as well as free flight has made this possible. Noise nuisance is much reduced and large airports can operate around the clock. Capable of flying safely in all weathers, aircraft are running on schedule 99% of the time.


An air traffic management system that can handle 16 million flights
a year with 24-hour operation of airports and a more flexible and efficient use of European air space.

A seamless European Air Traffic Management system mainly based on a civil global satellite system.

Integration of air transport into an efficient multimodal transport system.


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