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‘CLEAN SKY’ JTI a major initiative for European aeronautics

Participants at the Aeronautics Days 2006 conference got more details on the new CLEAN SKY Joint Technology Initiative (JTI). Expected to be among the first of the EU’s new JTIs to get off the ground under FP7, CLEAN SKY will bring together EU-funded projects and major industrial stakeholders to move important technologies even closer to market, ensuring the highest level of European competitiveness.

View from airplane
© Peter Gutierrez

“The Joint Technology Initiatives represent a completely new approach,” said Jack Metthey, Director of the Commission’s Research DG Transport Directorate. “Under the Seventh Framework Programme, the JTIs, led by industry and backed by the private sector, will provide a significant level of support for research and will deliver innovative solutions in the area of transport.” CLEAN SKY will create various technology demonstrators, including flight test vehicles that will be essential for successful market introduction.

“The role of the public sector and of the European Union in particular is to bring us all together,” said Metthey, “to break down the barriers that have kept us apart for so long, and the JTI concept is another great leap in that direction.”

Jack Metthey with ACARE Co-Chair Joachim Szodruch
Jack Metthey with ACARE Co-Chair Joachim Szodruch

“This initiative will deliver innovative technologies and solutions enabling drastic reduction of fuel consumption, noxious emissions and noise for the next generation of air transport systems,” explains CLEAN SKY JTI Task Force Chairman Dominique Ollinger. “The JTI instrument proposed by the European Commission represents a long-term public-private partnership (PPP) with the objective of undertaking large-scale technological R&D programmes and supporting strong, continuous, European-level industrial research. In order to ensure successful implementation of the CLEAN SKY JTI,” he adds, “wide participation among the European aeronautics network is required.”

EU officials say the current plan it to develop only one aeronautics JTI. A consortium of companies will manage its budget of several hundred million euros.

High-level support

“We have set ambitious targets for CLEAN SKY JTI,” said Alain Garcia, Airbus Executive Vice President Engineering. “An initial workshop earlier this month was very successful. We have had many expressions of interest, with big aeronautics players already prepared to support the initiative and even proposing important technical elements. However, by its very nature, CLEAN SKY will only deliver if real investment is provided. That means sufficient funding to support a healthy programme of co-operation and exchange.”

The Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE), whose seminal Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) has provided the backbone of the Union’s aeronautics research programme, has already expressed the opinion that, “…the CLEAN SKY initiative constitutes real added value for Europe and provides a good basis for making very significant progress towards the achievement of the ACARE vision and objectives especially those related to the greening of Air Transport.

Alain Garcia
Alain Garcia

In an opinion paper release in May 2006, ACARE expressed its appreciation of the quality and content of the CLEAN SKY JTI proposal, concluding that it represents a contribution to the achievement a quantum leap toward the Air Transport Vision 2020.

A new way

“The JTI concept is one of the major novelties of the Seventh Framework Programme,” said Metthey. “What’s more, we must emphasis the significance of this major decision to support an instrument of long duration, covering the entire period of FP7, from 2007 to 2013.

“What we need now is a step-change in the air transport system,” he added. “The growth of the industry will not stop. It did not stop after 9/11, it did not stop for the SARS crisis, it will continue to increase and develop and we need to secure our competitive position. This means we have no alternative but to support ambitious R&D initiatives like CLEAN SKY, a real asset for all Europeans.”

“The future of our industry is at stake,” said Garcia, “and our independence. I encourage all of you to pass on this message.”

CLEAN SKY will be open to all stakeholders with an interest in its mission and is expected to start work by mid 2007.