Transport modes


Aviation, encompassing both aeronautics and air transport, is vital for society and the economy:

  • it accounts for 3.7 million direct and indirect jobs
  • it transports people and goods. It connects citizens, regions of Europe, and the wider world
  • In the coming years, global air transport is expected to grow by 4% to 5% each year


Citizens and the environment are heavily affected by air travel. It emits CO2, nitrogen oxide (NOx), particles, is noisy and leaves contrails in the sky. But aviation is vitally important to the economy.

To meet the needs of both the market and society, to maintain the competitiveness of European industry, to address energy and environmental challenges and to ensure passenger safety, the industry must innovate, explore new concepts and deliver advanced solutions.


Ambitious targets for aviation have been set for 2050. Research and innovation will play a pivotal role in achieving them.

The long development cycles and the high technological risks that characterise the industry, require cooperation between all key private and public organisations to strengthen and streamline research.

There are bodies and organisations that work jointly with the European Union such as the Clean Sky and SESAR Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).


Clean Sky PPP: aims to reduce CO2, NOx and noise emissions of aircraft by 20% to 30% compared to current state-of-the-art technology.

SESAR PPP: aims to develop solutions for an efficient and cost effective air traffic management system – including the use of the European global navigation satellite system (GNSS). Improvements in air traffic management will help reduce flightpaths, flight times and emissions.

ACARE European Technology Platform: the Advisory Council for Aviation Research and innovation in Europe provides a network for strategic research in aeronautics and air transport so that aviation satisfies the needs of society and secures global leadership for Europe in this sector.

Success Stories

OPENAIR: A holistic approach to reducing noise from aircraft

The EU-funded OPENAIR project revolutionised the way aviation noise pollution is tackled. It generated solutions that should, in time, reduce the perceived noise emissions of flying aircrafts by 2.5 decibels. The project involved 47 partners worldwide and was set up with the specific purpose of taking the whole aircraft, including interactions between all mechanical parts, into account when reducing noise.

More about OPENAIR


HYPSTAIR: A successful example of hybrid propulsion system to reduce environmental impact and aviation travel costs

This EU-funded project concerns the design of components for a hybrid propulsion system for small aircrafts.

This propulsion system will enable future small aircraft to operate with lower emissions, lower fuel consumption and reduce the environmental impact and travel costs of aviation.

This will also improve the safety of flying.

More about HYPSTAIR