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Brussels, 29 January 2001

Commissioner Busquin and European aeronautics
sector present their ‘2020 Vision’

Keywords: aeronautics, European Research Area

Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin will today unveil the strategy paper on European aeronautics which he asked a group of high-ranking persons to develop. The 2001 Hamburg Aeronautics Days will set the scene for airlines, airports, regulators, air traffic managers, aircraft manufacturers and researchers to make their ideas and needs known and to embrace a European perspective. For Philippe Busquin, the rationale behind this vision is clear: “The competitiveness of our aeronautics industry depends on research. If Europe wants to stay a global player in the aeronautics world it cannot afford to fragment its research effort or to waste resources through duplication or lack of co-ordination. The way research is organised at the moment has failed to keep pace with changes in the industry’s own structures. I offer my help in this co-ordination effort by making aeronautics a showcase for the implementation of the European research Area and by making it a priority in the proposal for the next Framework Programme for Research, which the Commission should adopt in some weeks.”

Whilst the European aeronautics sector is well organised and strong in terms of aircraft production, its research effort lags substantially behind that of the USA, and is scattered in various national programmes and centres. Philippe Busquin states that “much has already been achieved, but we are now at the point where everything is possible and nothing can be taken for granted” adding that “the days of ‘Higher, Further, Faster’ are definitely counted and must be replaced by ‘More affordable, Safer, Cleaner, Quieter’. This is one of the reasons why I have asked the aeronautics sector to present their vision of the future.”

Europe’s aeronautics sector faces stark challenges in the coming 20 years. It is expected that air traffic volume will triple until 2020 and a new aircraft generation will need to be developed to face environmental and safety concerns voiced by citizens and politicians alike. Air traffic control needs to be improved and unified, and the sector will face increasing liberalisation as well as more competition from known players and new entrants. Moreover, the “2020 Vision” paper sets ambitious targets, which will require substantial investment in research and technology development.

The targets are:

The ‘2020 Vision’ report makes two main recommendations:

The Commission intends to set up the Advisory Council by mid 2001 and will think about ways to enable a reinforced co-operation between Member States, if problems can neither be solved at a national level nor tackled at community level. This could be achieved through judicious application of Article 169 of the Treaty, which allows for a great flexibility in the handling and fixing of the rules of the game if several Member States have agreed to embark on a common action.

Background figures

The document Vision 2020 and more information about EU aeronautics research can be found at:

For further information, please contact:

Stephen Gosden, Press and Information Officer, Research DG
Tel: +, E-mail:

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PRESS RELEASES | 29.01.2001