The Telford-based company’s Horizon Shift report, involving aerospace business leaders from across Europe, reveals that more that 77 percent of firms expect environmental credibility to become a key differentiator moving forward. However 72 percent indicate that new materials will be the driving force in lowering emissions and making flying cleaner.

Investment in innovation that reduces emissions should continue despite the pandemic, it also reveals, with 42 percent of firms now transforming their supply chains as part of the innovation drive to cut down CO2 output.

Senior executives from Composite Technology Center, Schiebel Group and Tecnam were among 80 senior leaders recently interviewed to understand how this vital market was looking to recover from the far-reaching impact of Covid-19.

The latest survey, which was conducted as a follow-up to an initial report of executives taken in February and March, presents a unique insight into the sector, especially in regard to what has changed as a result of the pandemic.

In addition to environmental improvements, companies are also looking for Government support and stimulus packages to help them create new revenue streams, embed innovation in the supply chain and bring new products to market quickly.

Almost half believe that there needs to be more immediate investment in infrastructure, while a third are calling on more supportive fiscal policies, such as tax breaks or R&D grants.

“The two crises of climate change and the Covid-19 lockdowns are changing the face of the aerospace industry,” says Bjoern Klaas, Protolabs Europe’s managing director.

“New types of aircraft, business models and supply chains will emerge.

“Survival is not going to be about a fast transition, but about building up resilience for the long-term and, part of that, is producing the next generation of aircraft: improved aerodynamics, lighter, more fuel-efficient and less polluting.” 



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