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Future Flight

Posted on 07/12/2018

The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched a joint government-industry deal on the Future Flight.

The deal, part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, will provide up to £125 million to aerospace and other manufacturers to research and engineer new technologies and infrastructure.  This will support the development of electric and autonomous aircraft and transform the future of transport in urban areas as the UK utilises airspace to ease congestion.

Announced by the Business Minister Greg Clark, the Aerospace Sector Deal represents Government support for the UK’s leading aerospace sector and the next generation of transport to tackle ground congestion and pollution in towns and cities.  It will develop ‘Future Flight’, including electric planes with vertical take-off capability, goods and service drones, to autonomous aircraft.  Industry will initially focus on smaller aircraft and drones to ensure the suitability of the new technologies before developing them for larger passenger aircraft.

The package includes £15 million government investment for GKN Aerospace’s new Global Technology Centre in Bristol, support proposals for supply chain SMEs to boost their competitiveness on the global stage and a pledge to increase the number of women in aviation.

KTN’s Transport Team is committed to supporting the development of cleaner, greener flight and works closely with Sustainable Aviation on delivering Sustainable Aviation Fuel Special Interest Group (SAF SIG).  SAF will still remain an important component of a portfolio of approaches to create cleaner, quieter and safer flight travel. KTN was also commissioned by Innovate UK to identify the innovation opportunities to create more efficiencies in the way we move people and goods by flight. As well as SAF, electric and autonomous aircraft or ‘air taxis’ were certainly areas identified to deliver against the Future of Mobility and Clean Growth Grand Challenges. You can see the whole story on the future of flight here.

Sustainable fuels, electrification and autonomous aircraft are all contributing to the Future of Flight.  The SAF SIG concentrates on the acceleration of the domestic production of sustainable fuel through strategic business solutions.  This focus included a mission to the US – KTN took five UK businesses to the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) biennial general meeting in Washington DC to enable them to make strategic business connections.

Greg Clark said: “The future of aerospace is cleaner, greener and more efficient, and we want the UK to be the pioneers of new technology that will pave the way for increased electrification and autonomy in commercial aviation.”  This deal represents significant Government investment in the industry: electrification combined with developing the sustainable aviation fuel business will combine to drive this ambition forward.