Published on : Thursday, September 23, 2021
A Sustainable Regional Aviation Forum was held this week in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to promote regional aviation’s sustainability initiatives and progress towards carbon neutral aviation.
The event was hosted by Binter, co-organised by European Regions Airline Association (ERA), Spain’s Aviation Safety and Security Agency (AESA) and SENASA, a public company providing specialised technical assistance to public entities of the Spanish aeronautical sector.
The event featured a topical agenda of thought-provoking conference sessions and expert insight from key industry figures to discuss aviation’s green transition and sustainability solutions. This included a regulatory update on developments to support the green transition of aviation provided by Flor Diaz Pulido, Head of Unit in DG MOVE, and an informative briefing delivered by Jose Doramas Jorge Calderon, the leading economist from the European Investment Bank (EIB), on how the EIB can finance the transition.
As well as this, Marta Lestau from AESA provided an overview of the challenges for the entire supply chain, whilst leading industry manufacturers ATR, Airbus, Embraer and ZeroAvia, outlined the technological advancements that will help industry reach its decarbonisation targets. Presentations were also provided by The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Universidad de La Laguna, BP, AENA and Credit Suisse.
The event was underpinned by an initial session held by ERA on its joint flagship sustainability initiative, Destination 2050. This highlighted the decisive joint actions needed to make net zero European aviation a reality by 2050, through a combination of four key measures working together at national, European and global levels.
ERA Director General Montserrat Barriga spoke on the role of regional aviation in COVID-19 recovery and the development of Europe’s regions, saying: “Aviation has suffered disastrous effects as a result of the pandemic, and whilst recovery jumped to the top of the agenda 18 months ago, sustainability has remained a key priority. The industry takes its responsibility towards sustainable aviation seriously and has continued to work to minimise its impact on the environment as much as possible. The Sustainable Regional Aviation Forum is an excellent example of the sector coming together to align itself in order to achieve net zero European aviation – even during difficult times.”
Juan Ramsden, General Coordinator of Binter, explained that the Canary Islands is a region that, because of its geography, depends to a great extent on regional aviation as an agent of cohesion and socio-economic development. “This has been Binter’s mission since it was founded in 1989, to ensure the connectivity of the Canary Islands, with more than 70 million passengers transported in these 32 years.”
Ramsden highlighted that sustainability is one of the areas in which Binter has made great progress, due to its special sensitivity to climate change and its intention to increasingly reduce the carbon footprint. “In recent years we have been concerned, among other things, to reduce single-use plastics on board and in our offices; to modernise the equipment with which we provide ground services; opting for electric and less polluting elements; to have a modern fleet of aircraft with lower consumption and emissions, and to promote our site and the mobile phone application to make it easier for our passengers to use less paper.”
AESA fully supports the research and development of a SAF project in the Canary Islands and Madrid, Spain; whilst SENASA adds: “The development of SAF will be performed through the development of regional value chains, and in Spain, municipal solid waste as feedstock has huge potential.”