Canadian Government urged to boost aerospace research

Toronto, 25 September 2012 – The Canadian Government was urged to boost investment in green aerospace research and development today by Paul Steele, Executive Director of the Geneva-based Air Transport Action Group, a global association representing the commercial aviation industry on sustainability issues.

Speaking at the second annual meeting of the Canadian Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN), Mr Steele said, “The Canadian aerospace industry is one of the strongest in the world. Aerospace manufacturers and their supply chain provide 81,000 skilled jobs directly and support over 110,000 jobs and C$13.1 billion in total. A vital component of the future growth of this sector – and its ability to help support the Canadian economy – is the supply of well-trained engineering graduates and innovative aerospace research.”

When the whole air transport system is included (airports, airlines, air traffic control and tourism supported by air travel), the aviation industry supports over 450,000 Canadian jobs and C$42.4 billion (or 2.8%) of gross domestic product.

“In March this year, global leaders of the aviation industry signed a declaration on the future of sustainable aviation. The first request to governments in the declaration was to continue to support collaborative research into new green aviation technologies and operations. The GARDN project is Canada’s contribution to this effort and the projects it is undertaking such as the environmentally-focused regional jet will play a valuable role in helping to reduce aviation’s environmental footprint.”

Worldwide, aviation currently accounts for around two percent of global man-made carbon dioxide emissions. The global aviation industry has agreed a set of ambitious targets to reduce its CO2 output. It will cap its net CO2 from 2020 and halve them by 2050, based on 2005 levels.

“To achieve these targets, we need all parts of the industry working on fuel saving measures. Collaboration is key. Projects like GARDN, which bring together government, research institutions and industry to jointly develop new environmentally-targeted technologies are vital to this global effort. Governments around the world are undertaking such collaborative research to support their aviation industries. It’s a wise investment in the future strength of Canadian aerospace and the benefits this brings to the wider national economy.”

In April, the GARDN network assisted with the first Canadian flight on sustainable aviation biofuels, with partners Porter Airlines and Bombardier. Since then, Air Canada has undertaken the first North American international ‘prefect flight’ incorporating biofuels and other emissions-saving methods on a flight which reduced the CO2 emitted by 40% compared to a normal flight.

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