Setting the tone at this month’s SAE Aerotech 2011 Congress and Exhibition in Toulouse, France, Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders delivered an opening address that underscored the importance of a “truly global vision” for the air transport industry’s future.
Enders, who was this biennial event’s honorary chairman, said such an approach would allow the aviation industry to align its efforts and focus on using resources to bring significant improvements for airlines and passengers.
Airbus hosted this four-day congress and exhibition – the first SAE Aerotech event held outside of the U.S. -- which was based on the theme: “'Eco-efficient Innovation Leading the Future of Aviation” and brought together thousands of professionals from the global aerospace community to discuss current and future industry challenges, opportunities, systems and more.
During his keynote speech, Enders also called for shorter aircraft development times and more design flexibility to better respond to airlines’ needs, and posed the question: “What about simple robust solutions that would give us plug-and-play planes that could evolve much more quickly in line with customer demands?”
To reinforce this point, he cited the example of United Airlines, which recently stated that introducing an iPad tablet device into the cockpits of its aircraft fleet could save 16 million sheets of paper and 300,000 gallons of fuel annually. “They want savings and solutions now, so why would they wait a decade for us to integrate them?” Enders asked rhetorically.
The SAE Aerotech 2011 Congress and Exhibition featured a busy technical programme with 405 presentations on eco-efficient technologies that could help shape the future of aviation, along with a speech by Airbus' head of engineering Charles Champion.
Delegates attending the event also were given guided tours of Airbus manufacturing and testing facilities in the Toulouse area, including its aircraft assembly lines, simulators and iron bird test benches.
The SAE Aerotech event was organised by SAE International, a global association of more than 128,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries.