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Paris Air Forum 2021: decarbonization and innovation


Monday, June 21 saw the hosting of the Paris Air Forum 2021 – an annual event organized by the La Tribune newspaper with a focus on the aeronautics, defense and space industries. This 8th edition of the event was held at Le Bourget's National Air and Space Museum of France in the form of round-table sessions, broadcast live. A number of Group representatives attended, including Safran CEO Olivier Andriès.

3D loom : carbon fiber

116 speakers gave presentations at the 8th edition of the Paris Air Forum – an unmissable event bringing together the key players in our sector. This 100% digital event was an opportunity for aeronautics, defense and space players to discuss the issues and challenges of the present and the future.

Decarbonation and the post-pandemic situation were at the top of the agenda at the various round-table sessions with the participation of a number of Safran representatives, including Safran CEO Olivier Andriès.


Does the future really belong to hydrogen aircraft?

The Le Bourget National Air and Space Museum's Hall of the Eight Pillars was the venue for an event in which Olivier Andriès, accompanied by Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury and EASA executive director Patrick Ky discussed the future of aviation and the use of sustainable energy sources, including hydrogen.

"Decarbonation is the Group's No.1 objective. It is a question that affects an entire ecosystem; a planet-wide issue of vital importance to us all", Andriès stressed to attendees. Patrick Ky and Guillaume Faury also underlined the need for a shared approach to the reduction of aviation's carbon footprint.

The discussion then turned to the use of hydrogen in the aviation sector. "Hydrogen is an attractive solution that we need to develop further; it will take time to arrive, because work is needed before the technologies are mature. However, decarbonation cannot wait, we must actively seek out other disruptive solutions," Andriès insisted.

The discussion continued on the theme of the CFM Rise program, launched by Safran and GE Aviation on Monday, June 14, the aim of which is to achieve a more than 20% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to current engines. Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury sees the CFM Rise program as "excellent news; a major building block being put into place. It greatly reduces consumption, and will therefore reduce the problem of storing hydrogen – a bulkier fuel – on board aircraft."

Like the other speakers, Andriès called for the implementation of regulatory measures to encourage the use of alternative fuels, starting today. "Here in Europe, we need to be ambitious in terms of the use of biofuels," he added.


Emerging from the crisis and innovation

Safran's Vice-President of Strategy Jean-Michel Hillion also participated in a round-table session alongside Michelin Group Director of Aeronautical Activities Mauro Sponza on emerging from the crisis and innovation in the aviation sector. 

"What should the world of the future look like? I believe that Covid has accelerated climate and environmental issues and changed the way we live, and especially our relationships with work and transport," Hillion declared.


The aeronautics sector has shown resilience during the health crisis, and continues to reinvent itself to meet current challenges. Mauro Sponza maintains that "a time of crisis has a stimulating effect on innovation." Meanwhile, the Safran Group has set itself the target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. "For the next generation of short/medium-haul aircraft, we plan to develop a highly innovative engine that will deliver a 20% performance improvement, particularly through the contribution made by new materials and hybridization," Hillion adds.


The aspirations of young talents

Gilles Garczynski, Director of Talent and Senior Executives, at Safran, participated in a roundtable on "Sustainable aerospace and the aspirations of young people". In particular, it provided key information and guidelines to students and young aerospace professionals: "adaptation and anticipation, diversification and above all monitoring of their" deep aspirations ""!

 "The skills of tomorrow are being prepared today and we are already seeing the recovery begin," added Gilles Garczynski. "The reception of work-study students remained at a very high level during the crisis, a harbinger of our desire to resume recruitments. The ecological transition, associated with the digital transformation which concerns all professions, poses major challenges and will generate great professional opportunities. "


Safran's goals

2020-2025: Maturation of hydrogen technologies

2035: Market launch of a new engine from the CFM Rise program