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Competitiveness of European Aviation through cost efficiency and innovation


Specific challenge: The aviation sector contributes 2% to the EU GDP. It is also an important source of jobs creating directly 1.7 million jobs (among which 480 000 skilled jobs in aeronautics) and supporting another 2 million indirect jobs. The aeronautics sector alone generates a turnover of EUR 70 billion and exports 60% of its production. With 12% of its turnover invested in research and innovation, aeronautics is one of the most research intensive sectors and is one of the world leaders in terms of production, employment and exports. The long life cycle of aircraft requires long term investments with high risks. In order to preserve its leadership and jobs, the European aviation industry must have the capacity to deliver the best products and services in a time and cost efficient manner and to offer new and innovative products, vehicles and services, with improved environmental performance.

Scope: Regarding aircraft, research and innovation actions could target the development of technologies and methodologies which have the potential to save costs and time across the whole life cycle of the aircraft (design, production, maintenance, overhaul, repair and retrofit), including for certification aspects. Research and innovation actions could also target the integration of additional functions (e.g. sensing, actuating) or materials in structural components of the aircraft, the increased use of automation and artificial intelligence in control systems allowing versatility and new capabilities or to provide passenger with additional services on-board of the aircraft or at the airport.

Regarding air transport operations, research and innovation actions could target cost efficiency of ground operations, as well as innovative approaches which can reduce the needs or accelerate the pace of the training of personnel.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 5 to 8 million each would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting smaller or larger amounts.

Expected impact: Actions will demonstrate in a quantified manner their potential to mature the Technology Readiness Level (TRL; please see part G of the General Annexes), in the range 1-6, of technologies and concepts that can make a significant contribution towards the following high level goals by 2050 with reference year 2000:

      The whole Europe aviation industry is strongly competitive and retains leading edge design, manufacturing and system integration capabilities and associated jobs thanks to significantly decreased development costs (including a reduction of costs of certification by 50%).

Actions will also provide ad-hoc indicators to measure the expected progress in terms of, for example, reduction of production or certification times and costs, when comparing the situation before the start of the action and after the implementation of its results. In the case of novel products and services, the potential markets will be identified together with the potential corresponding volumes / value.

Type of action: Research and Innovation Actions