The Views of the Aeronautical Research Establishments on THE FIFTH RTD - FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME
2. The European policy objectives and the Aeronautical sector
|2.1 THE EUROPEAN UNION INITIATIVES |
The objectives of the European (5) Union can broadly be described as creating and stimulating economic, political and social cohesion and the harmonious development among the memberstates. These objectives have been translated into actions that are strongly linked to the aeronautical sector. In fact it is a two-way street: The Union can achieve part of its objectives through support to the aeronautical sector and the aeronautical sector needs involvement of the Union to be more competitive. In the Commission's "preliminary guidelines for the fifth Framework Programme", "Inventing tomorrow", published in July 1996, the Commission states that "Europe needs research and research needs Europe". This is certainly true for the European aeronautics.
| The European Union focusses on a number of policy areas like: |
- strengthening the European industrial base (1), in which the aeronautical sector plays an important and strategic role.
- creating a harmonized European transport policy(2), emphasizing the need for free flow of people and goods(3), the increase of safety (4) and the reduction of the environmental impact related to transport.
- creating a strong European technology base, through European co-operation(6), the optimal use of human resources and facilities as well as dissemination of knowledge throughout Europe.
In order to support these activities the European Union implemented multi-annual Framework programmes for Research and Technology Development (RTD) at European level. The participation of the aeronautical sector in these programmes has not only resulted in realizing the European objectives, but also created closer links between organizations and people that would otherwise not have been established, thus having a substantial impact on closer European co-operation and coherence.
|2.2 AERONAUTICS IN EUROPE: AN OVERVIEW |
The Aeronautical Industry
The European aeronautical industry encompasses the aircraft manufacturers, engine-and equipment industries. The industry (both aeronautics and space) directly employs some 330.000 persons. The consolidated turnover of the European aerospace industry exceeds ECU 35 billion per year, of which a major part (some 20 billion ECU) results from exports thus strengthening the European (technological) balance of trad
Current forecasts of world air traffic show an annual growth rate of a steady 5%, leading to a doubling of the present civil air traffic in the next 15-20 years.
Some 16.000 new commercial jet aircraft will be required to meet the demand for additional aircraft and replacement of older types, representing a value of some ECU 800 to 1000 billion.
The European aeronautical industry aims at continuation and extension of its global marketshare, whilst covering a broad range of products. In order to achieve this, the industry has to offer competitive products, and technology is one of the most important factors affecting competitiveness. The international competition continues to be led by the US-industry, backed by large scale support and purchases from the US-government, which has taken steps both to secure and to strengthen its leading position in civil aviation.
By increasing the effectiveness of European RTD efforts through closer co-operation, concentrating on key technologies and demonstration projects as well as additional funding support from Member States and the European Union, the large difference can be offset without fully matching the US budgets.
The European aeronautical industry and research establishments are in many ways ahead in European industrial and research co-operation. Furthermore, the involvement of smaller memberstates in highly advanced technological programmes, the spin-offs from the aeronautical RTD and the stimulating demands on the educational system make aeronautics an essential element in the promotion of the European identity.
The challenges for the future are tremendous. Apart from shorter term development of derivatives from existing aircraft, the industry has formulated its medium term and longer term vision on new products ranging from very high capacity-,regional- and high speed aircraft to flying wing concepts and hypersonic planes. However, the private sector lacks the resources to invest in the necessary RTD activities. In view of the European dimension, support from the EU is mandatory, complementing national public and industrial investment.
|2.2.2 The Airline, ATM and Airports |
Air transport to, from and within the European Union, has grown over the period 1970-1993 by 442% to 600 billion revenue passenger-km per year. This represents a much larger growth rate than any other means of transport(7). European airlines contribute substantially to the economic growth in Europe and its social cohesion. Every week, an average of 56.000 flights are operated in Europe, of which 71% are operated by the major European airlines. These conduct more than 18% of the world scheduled flights (220 million passengers per year) and transport more than 550 million ton- km of freight(8) per year, whilst operating more than 1700 aircraft.
The 25 major European airlines (members of the Association of European Airlines), employ more than 310.000 people. Besides that, some 30 other airlines operate in Europe. The total turnover of the European airline industry is estimated above ECU 50 billion per year.
European airlines will be able to capture a substantial part of the envisaged air traffic market increase. To achieve this the following basic technological requirements have to be fulfilled: safe, environmentally friendly and cost-effective aircraft, effective air traffic management, no congestion and a passenger attractive infrastructure at airports with increased accessibility at the ground.
The current European ATM system is old-fashioned and fragmented. It comprises 52 ATC centers, 31 national systems, 20 operating systems and 70 different programming languages. Such fragmentation causes delays and increases the costs for air transport to unacceptable levels. ATC charges increased at a much higher rate than other airline costs(9). About one quarter of all European scheduled flights are delayed by 15 minutes or more. It is estimated that delays due to ATM create an ECU 2 billion loss per year to the airlines.
ECAC initiated the ATM harmonization and integration (EATCHIP/EATMS) programmes in 1990. The European Commission and Parliament have stressed the need to focus on a single unified ATM system in Europe as soon as possible to cope with the envisaged doubling of air traffic in the next 15-20 years. In its report "ATM-Freeing Europe's airspace", (Com 96-57) the Commission proposes the co-ordinated approach between Eurocontrol and the European Union on RTD for ATM research and -technology.
The expected growth of European Air Traffic would mean 7 million more landings and take-offs per year at European Airports. Out of the 530 European airports operating scheduled flights, the top 15% account for 85% of the traffic. Although initiatives like point to point connections between regional airports, the use of larger aircraft, use of the off peak periods during the day or a shift towards fast trains may account for a small reduction in the required increased number of take-offs and landings, a substantial problem in runway and terminal capacity is foreseen. It is expected that 16 of Europe's 27 primary airports will be capacity constrained by the year 2000. In some cases, the construction of additional airports or runways will be necessary, in other cases only intelligent measures for better utilization of existing runways by improved sequencing of aircraft on approach, arrival and departure, improved approach procedures and smart airport movement can provide solutions for some of the problems ahead.
ECAC demanded a programme to interface the airport and ATC, called APATSI in 1992, under shared responsibility of Eurocontrol and the ECAC secretariat. The Commission has proposed to integrate these activities under a new Eurocontrol/EU management. This would create a strong mechanism to efficiently guide the substantial research and demonstration activities needed for the overall traffic management.
|2.2.3 Air transport safety |
From the outset of aviation, safety has been a major issue for the industry, regulators and other authorities. Future regulation, based on sound scientific and technological understanding, should create higher relative safety levels without damaging industrial competitiveness or reducing the efficiency or capacity of the future air transport system.
Although air transport is to be regarded as a safe means of mass transport, the relative number of fatal accidents in scheduled and non-scheduled commercial aviation seems to have levelled off during the last 10 years. In view of the increase in traffic envisaged in the future, this would result in an equal or even larger increase in absolute number of fatalities (both passengers and citizens on the ground). Technology development has to respond to increasing public perception of air transport accidents, especially those related to high capacity aircraft.
The Joint Aviation Authorities , created in 1989, promote co-operation on all matters of aircraft safety (design, manufacture, airworthiness, maintenance, operations). Its Joint Aviation Requirements (JARs) are applied within the European Union, based on the Council regulation 3922/91. The Commission started a safety related research programme as part of the 4th Framework programme, based on advice by the JAA and AEREA (through its AEROSAFE Report). The important safety related research has to be continued in the next Framework Programme.
|2.2.4 Environmental impact of air transport |
Environmental issues relate to the reduction of polluting emissions and air traffic noise. Again, this concerns both product development and regulatory issues, relying on the same technology base. Furthermore, new operating procedures to reduce both emissions and noise have to be safe.
In parallel with the continuing growth of air traffic, environmental issues increase in importance and could impose new limitations on air transport growth. To achieve a better understanding and monitoring of the impact of aircraft emissions both in the atmosphere and on the ground, to reduce noise at source and on the ground as well as to improve future products and future regulation (in line with European industrial developments), substantial research and demonstration efforts at European scale are needed.
In view of the public discussion on sustainable development and recycling of materials, research is also needed to incorporate the recycling potential in aviation products.
|2.2.5 Air transport policy assessment |
In order to better understand the question of mobility, strategic research is needed. The Commission has responded by initiating such research at European level. The European Commission has also started initiatives to formulate policies for optimal use of multi-modal transport opportunities. Before concrete policy measures can be introduced, a better understanding is needed to assess the consequences of the proposed policies.
Other issues to be addressed should be the development of European standards for noise regulation around airports, inter-operability with non-EU countries and transition issues related to the introduction of new air traffic management systems.
|2.2.6 The European Aeronautical Research and Technology Infrastucture |
Research, technology development and demonstration activities are performed by universities, research establishments and industry.
In most cases, universities concentrate on more fundamental research issues. The establishments transform fundamental knowledge into validated engineering tools for the industry and provide independent technological consultancy to governments and aircraft operators. Industries have their specific research, engineering and design capabilities. The Maastricht treaty specifically mentions the cooperation between governments, industry, research establishments and universities to achieve a more competitive industry and to improve the quality of life.
Optimal co-operation in pre-competitive and pre-normative RTD should make an adequate, cost-effective technology base available in Europe .
The Research Establishments have developed wide experience in collaboration on pre-competitive research and test facilities. Co-operation ranges from networking and exchange of information to joint projects and programmes. The Association of European Research Establishments in Aeronautics (AEREA) ultimate goal is to develop closer ties between the research centers, with integrated management of joint activities where appropriate (see annex 1), create interdependence, work sharing and joint operation of test facilities.
The European Commission has put much emphasis on networking, training and access to large facilities in Europe to facilitate closer operation in general. AEREA's intention goes far beyond the idea of networking and access to facilities.
The AEREA-process of interdependency, rationalization and pooling of facilities should be stimulated at a European level in order to speed-up the total process. The AEREA integration process has been described by one of the Commissioners(10) as a pilot-project for closer co-operation in Europe. He offered his support to accomplish the far reaching objectives agreed upon between the AEREA-members. However, the mechanisms to support the initiative were not available in the fourth Framework Programme.
|1. White paper on growth, competitiveness and employment (Com 93-700 final) |
|2. White paper on the common transport policy (Com 92-494) |
|3. Air Traffic Management, freeing Europe's airspace (Com 96-57): Trans European Networks (Com 94-106) |
|4. See harmonization of European airworthiness requirements (regulation 3922/91) |
|5. See for example directive 92/14 related to non-operation of chapter 2 certificated jet aircraft |
|6. Coordination through cooperation in research and technology (Com 94-438) and the Green Book on Innovation (Com 95-688) |
|7. According to the "citizens network" document com 95-601, passenger transport by car increased by 120%, by bus 40% and by rail 24% in the same period. |
|8. DG Enterprise: The European aerospace industry 1996 |
|9. Cost increase between 1986 and 1993 is 120% in current value: see Com 96-57 |
|10. Commissioner Ruberti, 1994 |