Top Industry Leaders Call For ‘Radical Collaboration’ at Sustainable Skies World Summit 2024

ASIM, may 24

Virgin Atlantic and British Airways CEOs called for ‘radical collaboration’ between the government, aviation fuel providers, and the broader industry to achieve net zero by 2050 at the Sustainable Skies World Summit 2024. During a panel with Julie Kitcher, Chief Sustainability Officer at Airbus, and Brian Moran, Chief Sustainability Officer at Boeing, Virgin Atlantic’s Shai Weiss and British Airways’ Sean Doyle discussed the positive steps taken by their organizations and the increased investment in sustainable technology to reduce carbon emissions. While progress is being made and the UK Government’s SAF mandate is welcomed, the panel agreed that it’s not just the OEMs’ and airlines’ responsibility to drive change; more needs to be done by the government and the wider sustainable aviation fuel infrastructure to achieve the set targets.

Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, stated: “It’s not often that you see two sets of competitors going toe to toe on stage, but today was unusual. We agreed that radical collaboration is required for our industry to reach Net Zero by 2050 with a focus on the near-term, including fleet modernization, wide adoption of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), as well as longer-term technological innovation including hydrogen and electrification. Last week, Virgin Atlantic published much-anticipated findings from Flight100 as an open resource to show the industry that SAF is a safe, 100% drop-in replacement for fossil fuels. Decarbonization is a big issue for all of us and we need to get it right, so there is not a choice for consumers between flying and being green; and the approximately 60% of the world who have not yet flown. Our position at Virgin Atlantic is clear – if enough SAF is made, we will fly it.”

Held from May 15-16 at Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre, Sustainable Skies World Summit 2024 convened international aviation and aerospace market leaders, UK Government officials, and global media to accelerate global standards and cultivate collaboration. On the first day, Anthony Browne MP, Minister for Aviation, Decarbonization, and the Future of Transport, met with exhibitors and held an exclusive industry roundtable to highlight his department’s progress. The Jet Zero Council also held a working group meeting to discuss efforts to deliver net zero and zero-emission aviation through UK production of zero-emission flights and SAF. On the second day, Mark Harper MP, Secretary of State for Transport, joined the stage discussion, sharing the government’s plans to position Britain at the forefront of sustainable aviation. The event, featuring over 40 speakers and showcasing the latest developments in sustainable aviation technology, services, and intelligence, will return on May 14-15, 2025.

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