May 28, 2024
Aviation Events GCC UAE

Sustainability will feature prominently at Dubai Airshow 2023

Industry heavyweights committed to going net-zero by 2050

Sustainability will be one of the key highlights of the upcoming Dubai Airshow as the global aviation industry looks for solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change against the backdrop of the UAE hosting COP28 – the United Nations’ annual international climate change conference – from November 30-December 12, 2023, in Dubai emirate.

Tarsus Aerospace, a renowned entity in the global aerospace industry’s events vertical, will host the 18th bi-annual Dubai Airshow from November 13-17, 2023, under the theme: The Future of the Aerospace Industry.

Dire warning

According to a new report by Frost & Sullivan titled – Sustainable Technologies in Aviation – the global aviation industry contributes approximately 2%-3% of all global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Still, with a constant increase in passenger demand, this could rise to 25%-30% by 2050 if no actions are taken.

A jet engine on display at a past edition of the Dubai Airshow. Image: Arnold Pinto
A jet engine is displayed at the 2019 edition of the Dubai Airshow. Image: Arnold Pinto

This problematic scenario raises the urgency for aircraft manufacturers, airlines, and airport operators to undertake sustainability initiatives at the very earliest, the report urged.

Taking note of the proverbial canary in the mine shaft, the aviation, aerospace, and defence sectors are already, individually and collectively, taking intensive measures towards decarbonisation, with innovation accelerating exponentially.

Firm commitment

Industry stakeholders across the board have committed to showcasing their latest solutions towards net zero emissions, discussing collaborations, and gaining new insights into best practice sustainability when participating in Dubai Airshow 2023 at DWC, Dubai Airshow site.

Dubai Airshow 20233 emblem. Image: Tarsus Aerospace
Dubai Airshow 2023 emblem. Image: Tarsus Aerospace

The UAE’s most prominent and only international airshow – which trails the Paris Air Show (Salon de Bourget) and the Farnborough Airshow – will see sustainability as a crucial area of focus for international aviation stakeholders with unique sustainability-themed conference tracks.

Boeing role

Tarsus Aerospace has confirmed Boeing as the host sponsor for the upcoming airshow’s Aerospace 2050 stage, which includes a two-day sustainability conference, given sustainability’s overriding importance.

The sustainability conference will focus on hydrogen-powered aviation, Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), COP28 predictions, efficient engines, streaming operations, and hybrid and electric aircraft.

Boeing is sponsoring the Aerospace 2050 feature at Dubai Airshow 2023. Image: Arnold Pinto
Boeing is sponsoring the Aerospace 2050 feature at Dubai Airshow 2023. Image: Arnold Pinto

It will also address how to prepare for future carbon-neutral passengers and create a low-carbon aviation energy hub through global leadership.

Kuljit Ghata-Aura, President of Boeing Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, stated: “Boeing is especially pleased to sponsor the Aerospace 2050 conference.

“The aviation industry is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and Boeing is developing aeroplanes and technologies which will enable our airline customers to meet these goals. We look forward to sharing our experience and engaging with our industry peers and partners at Dubai Airshow 2023,” Ghata-Aura added.

Sustainability quest

With the international aerospace and defence industries transitioning their operations to net zero as quickly as possible, Dubai Airshow 2023 is expected to be the perfect platform for players from across the aerospace and defence industries to convene, introduce and showcase the latest solutions that should help spearhead these two key economic sectors towards a sustainable future.

Aircraft makers, such as Airbus, have set net zero targets in place. Image: Arnold Pinto
Aircraft makers, such as Airbus, have set net-zero targets in place. Image: Arnold Pinto

According to the best scientific analyses of the industry, global production capacity for SAF needs to exceed 30 billion litres by 2030 and 450 billion litres by 2050 for airlines to achieve net-zero targets.

In 2020, SAF production was just 450 million litres, according to IATA, which is less than 0.05% of the global jet fuel demand.

Middle East perspective

In the Middle East, the aviation industry has already launched several pilot initiatives aimed at sustainability.

For example, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) has signed an agreement with Airbus to support the development and growth of the global SAF market.

Dubai Airshow 2023 will see the latest sustainability focussed technologies on display. Image: Arnold Pinto
Dubai Airshow 2023 will see the latest sustainability-focused technologies on display. Image: Arnold Pinto

The newly signed partnership will also see both entities collaborate on green hydrogen projects and direct air capture technologies.

Again, in the Middle East region, Qatar Airways has entered a collaboration with Shell to source 3,000 metric tonnes of neat SAF at Amsterdam Schiphol airport in the Netherlands, making Qatar Airways the first airline from the Middle East and Africa region to procure such a large SAF amount in Europe, beyond government SAF mandates.

Also, Dubai-based Emirates has completed a Boeing 777-300ER demonstration flight powered by 100% SAF as part of the mega carrier’s plans to help the global aviation industry meet carbon emission targets.

Emirates has also earmarked AED736 million ($200 million) to fund R&D on advanced fuel technologies that can reduce commercial aviation’s environmental impact.

Global perspective

On the international front, Shell Aviation has signed several agreements to provide airlines, including JetBlue and Japan Airlines, with SAF.

Airshow SAF is finding greater use in the aviation industry. Image: Arnold Pinto
Sustainable Aviation Fuel is finding greater use in the aviation industry. Image: Arnold Pinto

Air BP, the specialised aviation division of multinational oil and gas company BP, has also confirmed the first sale of SAF from its Castellon refinery in Spain, marking another important milestone as Air BP endeavours to make SAF more widely available to the aviation sector.

Aviation industry pioneers and innovators exhibiting at Dubai Airshow 2023 have confirmed they will present their latest technologies and innovations to achieve global net zero emission targets for the aviation, aerospace, and air defence industries.

Firm commitments

Mikail Houari, President of Airbus Africa and Middle East, said: “At Airbus, we continue demonstrating our commitment to leading the decarbonisation journey in the aerospace industry through a pioneering role in developing disruptive technologies.

The 18th Dubai Airshow runs from November 13-17, 2023. Image: Arnold Pinto
The 18th Dubai Airshow runs from November 13-17, 2023. Image: Arnold Pinto

“Whether this is through hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft or other sustainable solutions regarding engines and fuels, our goals are a testament to the potential for revolutionising how we fly.

“We are relentlessly pursuing ambitions of building a more sustainable future for aviation as we seek to make our commercial fleet capable of flying with 100% SAF by 2030,” Houari added.

Mohammed Mohaisen, President and CEO of Honeywell Middle East and North Africa, noted: “SAF represents a ready now opportunity to drive the sustainable growth of the aviation industry, yet it is still barely tapped into.

“Technologies that can harness readily abundant CO2 to produce SAF are transformational in how we fuel aircraft and will play an important role in the long-term decarbonisation of the sector,” Mohaisen said.

Featured image: New-generation passenger aircraft on static display at Dubai Airshow 2021. Image: Arnold Pinto

Last Updated on 1 month by Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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