Along with the announcement of the €15 billon aid package for the French aviation sector, the French government has revealed that it will be heavily backing the development of a “zero carbon” aircraft.
A replacement for the A320 by 2030
Working towards a carbon neutral aircraft will be a challenge for France and Airbus. However, it won’t launch as a carbon neutral aircraft. It is expected that the complete A320 family will be reworked and relaunched.
The A320 successor should be rolled out to the public between 2026 and 2028 with the first flight expected to be in 2030. Along with the new aircraft, a regional aircraft will also be launched. With the early A320s at nearly 30 years old and with airlines opting for the newer NEO (New Engine Option) family, the end of the decade launch of the aircraft makes sense as airlines will start looking for a replacement for their NEO and CEO (Current Engine Option) fleets at the end of the decade.
With the current global grounding of fleets and the ongoing climate emergency I think it has given airlines and aircraft manufacturers time to think and consider their options for a green and sustainable future.
This may be why the new aircraft’s green launch has been brought forward by 10 years when the original expectation for a carbon zero aircraft launch was 2045.
Investing in new technology The new aircraft is proposed to use hydrogen as fuel, with the switch to the clean fuel being in or around 2035 (around 5 years after the commercial launch). To support the ongoing project, the government has allocated €1.5 billion between 2020 and 2022 for research and development of the new aircraft.
The director of strategy at airbus commented:
“we are going from a public R&D budget of 135 million per year to 300 million this year, then 600 million in 2021 & 2022.”
In addition to the funding from the French government, €400 million will come from the European Union over the next two years. Alongside the funding for the new green aircraft, more funds will be allocated to make the aerospace industry in general more technologically advanced and modern.
What do you think about this news? Is it time for a shakeup of the industry? Lets us know in the comments.