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REGIONAL AIRCRAFT 2020-2023

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - GAM-2020-REG (REGIONAL AIRCRAFT 2020-2023)

Reporting period: 2021-01-01 to 2021-12-31

The REG objective is to bring the integration of technologies for Regional Aircraft to a further level of complexity with respect to the achievements of CS GRA. Retaining GRA outcomes, advanced technologies for regional aircraft are being further developed and will be integrated and validated at aircraft level to drastically de-risk their integration on future regional aircraft products:
•LDO Conventional Turboprop Aircraft Configuration
•LDO Innovative Aircraft Configuration
•Airbus D&S Multimission Aircraft.
Main high-level objectives for the period are:
•Design loops completion through preliminary a/c design activities for the investigated Aircraft configurations and delivery of ASMs to TE
•Detailed design phase completion for all Demonstrators
•Manufacturing of components for the demonstrators
•Qualification of items for ground tests and for safety of flight
•Integration of innovative components and systems into the demonstrators
•Execution of on-ground and in-flight demonstrations
•Assessment of the on-ground and in-flight test results achieving respectively TRL5 and TRL6 for the innovative technologies
•Deliver of inputs to ECO TA for LCA evaluations.
Regional Aircraft IADP activities related to green conceptual aircraft performed in the period 2020-2021 confirmed the achievement of the ambitious environmental targets established in the initial phase of CS2 program. Hybrid-electrical configurations studies progressed well, focusing in 2021 on a promising architecture with Distributed Electrical Propulsion (DEP).
All demonstrators achieved very good progress toward the master plan, in particular:
•the detailed design phase was completed for all full-scale demonstrators, with the Critical Design Reviews (CDRs) held in the last months of 2020 for the FTB1 and for the Pax Cabin ground demonstrator. CDRs of Wing Ice Protection System (WIPS) and Innovative Propeller also represented important achievements in 2020

•three wind tunnel test demonstration campaigns were completed for the TP90 concept a/c (WTT1 large scale model, morphing fixed shapes, low speed; WTT2 large scale model, morphing, low speed and in cruise conditions; WTT3 aero-servo-elastic model including active control laws)
•manufacturing and assembly operations for the on-ground full-scale demonstrators significantly progressed
•for the in-flight demonstrators, important achievement for the FTB1 was the execution in 2021 of ground structural/functional tests of morphing winglet and innovative wingtip, very important achievements for FTB2 was the achievement of the Permit to Fly in Dec 2021. Then, the FTB2 First Flight was successfully achieved in Jan 2022.
Impacts of Covid19 outbreak were continuously monitored during the year. The impacts caused by the pandemic situation are mainly in terms of delays: the initial assessment performed in the mid of 2020 showed an average of 4 months delay but at this stage there are no further schedule margins with respect to the end of the program for some full-scale demonstrators.
Important progress has been achieved towards the environmental goals for the Green Conceptual Regional Aircraft Configurations (Advanced Turboprop 90pax, Innovative Turboprop 130pax, Multimission Turboprop 70pax).
The technology maturation reached enabled to proceed with important progress in the wind tunnel demonstration campaigns, the start of in-flight demonstrations (FTB2) and significant progress of the integration phase for all other full-scale demonstrators.
Impacts are expected from outcomes of the Green Conceptual Regional Aircraft Configuration activities and from validation of innovative technologies through the above full-scale demonstrations: Greening (CO2 and Noise reduction), Industrial leadership (development costs and time-schedule reduction for future regional aircraft programs, contributing to EU Manufacturer leadership with market share increase and job creation) and enhanced Mobility (fuel efficiency, transport cost reduction, operation in short runways)
Completion of design loops activities in 2021substantiated that High Level Objectives for the REG green conceptual aircraft can be achieved in terms of pollution and noise reduction:
•Advanced TP, 90 pax (targets are wrt. ATR 72, in-service during 2014, scaled to 90 Pax)
oCO2 reduction: 35 / 40% , NOx reduction: >50% , Noise reduction: 60/70%
•Innovative TP, 130 pax (targets wrt. Regional Jet in-service in 2014)
oCO2 reduction: 19 / 25% , NOx reduction: 19/25% , Noise reduction: 20/30%
•Multimission TP, 70 pax (targets are wrt. 2014 Airbus DS Multi-mission aircraft
oCO2 reduction: 20 / 30%, NOx reduction: 20 / 30% , Noise reduction: 20/30%
The new activities on hybrid-electrical aircraft configurations achieved significant progress towards the potential application of electric hybrid technology to regional class aircraft
In commercial aviation, the regional aircraft market continues to be a key growth sector of the airline industry and contributes to efficient air transport system, ensuring safe and seamless mobility, creating new jobs and respecting the environment towards a European carbon neutrality deal.
Industrial and market impact have been released to JU supporting website updating and stating that regional carriers typically operate aircraft, such as regional jets and turboprops, with a seating capacity ranging from 19 to 130 seats, on short to medium-haul routes. At the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic, the regional aviation world fleet able to perform scheduled connections amounts to roughly 9300 units (regional turboprops were around 5000 units with an average age of 23 years; regional jets were the remaining part with an average age of 12 years) representing more than 30% of the worldwide commercial fleet. At the same time roughly 38% of world city pairs is served by regional aircraft able to perform about 40% of the total departures and around 36% of the total flown hours.
In terms of regional connectivity 36% of existing airport are relying exclusively on turboprop operated services. In terms of flights distribution, around 80% of regional aircraft routes cover distances below 500 nm and over 50% is operated on distances below 300 nm, where the turboprop have the dominance.
In the next 20 years (once the traffic drop due to the COVID-19 pandemic is absorbed and recovered), the regional air traffic is expected to increase at an average yearly rate of over 4.5%, generating a market demand of over 8200 new regional aircraft including the large regional aircraft, with a market value of about € 390 billion (averaging € 19.5 billion per year).
The integration of innovative and affordable technologies in future regional aircraft platforms is a key success factor for manufacturers as it increases the appeal and customer benefits by providing a better inflight experience for passengers, thanks to improved comfort and lower cabin noise levels, including less noise in and around airports too.
Furthermore, airlines derive significant economic advantages from operating modern aircraft which are more efficient, eco-friendly, easier and cost-efficient to manage and maintain, saving money through the reduction of operating costs.
In a future characterised by extensive use of innovative technologies, regional aviation’s potential market will increase up to 20%-30% over the 2025-2050 timeframe, also thanks to the introduction of some new hybrid-electric regional programs.
Regional Multimission Concept Aircraft (AIRBUS DS)
CS2 REG From Technology developments to full-scale
Regional TP90 Pax Concept Aircraft (LDO VEL)