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Future of Flight – Bristol Airport announces it will be the first net zero UK airport

Created: 25th Jun 2021

Bristol Airport will be the first net zero Airport in 2030

On Friday 25 June 2021, a number of business, aviation and aerospace industry leaders from across the region attended a Future of Flight, Business Breakfast.  Panel discussions included the future of aviation using innovation and strategic leadership in the region and how business collaborating together will support the sector’s transition to net zero.

The event was hosted at Bristol Airport and attended by Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees; Leader South Gloucestershire Council Toby Savage; Michael Cervenka, President, Vertical Aerospace and James Richmond, Advanced Air Mobility Lead, Atkins. 

During the event Bristol Airport announced it will achieve being a carbon neutral Airport four years ahead of schedule.  Reducing the time scale from 2025 to 2021 becoming carbon neutral before the end of the year.  Bristol Airport is taking a leadership position in the industry and confirmed it will be the first net zero airport in the UK by 2030, 20 years ahead of the Government target date.  Bristol Airport made three key commitments to be a net zero airfield, with net zero buildings and operate a net zero fleet of vehicles.

A consortium led by Atkins (of which Bristol Airport is a participant) is exploring the feasibility of air taxi services in the South West using eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft.  The project aims to create a blueprint for the supporting complex physical and digital infrastructure and one that with successful demonstration can be used by many to revolutionise transportation in a sustainable way.

James Richmond, Advanced Air Mobility Lead at Atkins said: 

“De-carbonising aviation is an enormous challenge that requires multi-disciplinary global action from across the entire ecosystem, working together towards common goals and with robust policies in place. Embracing technological innovation will be key and as the industry develop solutions, working early with ambitious partners to test and validate these will be fundamental to their implementation and success. The work we’re doing today with Bristol Airport is a great example of this and we look forward to jointly shaping the future of flight.”

Michael Cervenka, President of Vertical Aerospace said: 

“eVTOLs represent by far the largest near-term commercial opportunity to revolutionise urban air mobility and electrify air travel. When compared to helicopters, eVTOLs offer significant improvements in safety, noise and operating costs whilst also, and crucially, making air travel carbon free. They represent a huge global market opportunity and will change the way people think about flying through the skies. Vertical strongly believes in a collaborative approach to capitalise on this opportunity and the amazing partners we are working with in the Future Flight project are a perfect demonstration of the world-leading capabilities we have in the UK.”

Councillor Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council said:

‘I am delighted to be working closely with Bristol Airport and with so many global leaders in the aviation industry to support innovation and decarbonisation in the future of flight. South Gloucestershire has a proud and internationally significant history in aerospace and we continue to host the R&D which is critical to retain our status on the World stage at an important time for the industry and for the climate’.

Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees commented:

“I welcome Bristol Airport’s ambition to drive carbon neutrality and environmental sustainability into the heart of its future, and to show leadership on how the sector can green its impact and deliver on testing carbon goals. In an increasingly interconnected world we must harness technology and innovation to reach our goal of carbon neutrality. Bristol’s aerospace sector is well placed to continue to lead on solutions to this challenge.”

Dave Lees, CEO, Bristol Airport said:

“Today is another milestone in looking towards the future showcasing how businesses in the region collaborating together using the latest technology and innovative solutions will meet decarbonisation targets.  The aviation industry is taking its responsibilities seriously in addressing climate change challenges, working together to create the solutions now and in the future.”

The event is part of series being organised by Bristol Airport which aims to showcase the region’s role in driving clean aviation growth and set out proposals on how the aviation sector can decarbonise. 

Further collaborations and proposals are expected in the coming months as the region turns towards recovery from Covid-19 and in the lead up to COP26 later this year.  This will include working with the Western Gateway to promote and maximise economic growth across the West of England and South Wales.