The European Union's €1.6 billion ($1.9 billion) aeronautics research effort known as Clean Sky recently has gained momentum, and officials expect to see several demonstrators running on the ground or in the air by 2014 or 2015. After a slow start in 2008-2009, the so-called joint technology initiative (JTI) is now progressing at almost nominal speed.
Science and technology in Europe
Europe’s aerospace industry is blaming the European Commission for major delays in the Clean Sky joint technology initiative (JTI), a significant aerospace research program for greener aviation. The Commission retorts that it is just doing its job–spending taxpayer money diligently–and declines to accept sole responsibility for the delays.
The air transport industry in Europe employs about 3.1 million people, and if air traffic doubles in 15 years as expected, the sector will contribute up to 13 percent of Europe’s gross domestic product. A thriving aerospace industry is therefore a key factor in the 25-nation European Union’s “Lisbon Strategy” to become the “most competitive economy in the world.”
The European Union plans an ever more ambitious seventh framework program for research (FP7) that will encompass a longer period (seven years versus five previously) and include new approaches including a joint technology initiative (JTI) project led by the industry.
For member companies of Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) as a whole, 2005 was a remarkably good year, with revenues of €113 billion ($141 billion). Over the same period, employment also grew by 13,000 to reach 614,000, with the growth largely driven by the commercial aeronautics sector.