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Innovating for sustainable solutions

Innovating for sustainable solutions

As a global partner for inclusive and sustainable industrial development, we create resilient infrastructure that empowers communities. We are committed to driving innovation and pursuing disruptive concepts to bring solutions to societal challenges.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Our commitment to building resilient infrastructure and fostering innovation helps drive economic growth and development.

Partnerships for the goals

Airbus is a global partner for sustainable development. We work with governments, civil society and the aerospace sector to encourage sharing of knowledge, technology and financial resources to pursue innovation and answer society’s needs.

How we drive innovation: enhancing scientific research

To maintain our position as a global leader, we are committed to fostering a culture of innovation. We use this to help address critical issues such as sustainable mobility, production infrastructure, cyber security and climate change. 

Our network of research facilities, scientists, engineers and partnerships drives our long-term growth at technology’s cutting edge. Our innovation network stretches from Europe to Asia, India and the United States. 

Airbus spends over €3 billion annually on research and development and holds approximately 37,000 patents worldwide.

Airbus BizLab in Bengaluru showcases transformative ideas and regularly calls for new applications.

Industry-wide partnerships and initiatives for cleaner technologies

Airbus BLADE project: Jean-François Azzopardi - Test Flight Engineer

Airbus leads or participates in a variety of European and international partnerships and initiatives to improve the sustainability of the aerospace industry.

We supported the creation of the IAEG (International Aerospace Environmental Group), which aims at harmonising the response of the industry to existing and emerging environmental regulations, as well as aligning aerospace environmental standards.

We also lead or participate in various European and international environmental working groups at International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) and Aerospace Defence Security (ADS), among others. Airbus plays a leading role in the European Union’s Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative to develop new innovations with environmental improvements.

Our Helicopters division, for example, is leading the design of LifeRCraft (Low Impact, Fast & Efficient RotorCraft), a compound rotorcraft which combines the speed and efficiency of a plane with the hovering capabilities of a helicopter. We are also leading the BLADE project, which aims to reduce wing friction and thus lower CO2 emissions.

We play a major role in the SESAR (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) initiative, which aims to shape the future of air transportation and drive sustainable growth around the world by developing solutions for air traffic management.  Here we are contributing to the improvement of air traffic management, which could reduce CO2 emissions by 10% per flight.

Other leading sustainable aviation initiatives

The no. 1 British Airways A380 is shown as it passes by on a Paris Air Show flight presentation

Reducing noise

Airbus is partnering with British Airways, Heathrow Airport and NATS (the main air navigation service provider in the UK) to study and develop operational procedures to reduce the number of people affected by noise around London’s Heathrow. This project utilises the capabilities of the A380, the quietest aircraft of its size.

Measurement of Ozone by Airbus in-service Aircraft (MOZAIC)

The MOZAIC programme highlights our strong commitment to advancing scientific knowledge on climate research. Seven Airbus widebody aircraft equipped with measurement devices are now flying internationally every day, with the support of the programme’s associated airlines: Lufthansa, China Airlines, Air France, Iberia, Cathay Pacific and Air Namibia. The measurement devices capture key aircraft parameters and atmospheric data such as concentrations in ozone, water vapour and carbon monoxide.

Research on biofuel from algae starts at Ludwig Bölkow Campus, uniting Technical University of Munich.

Developing sustainable fuels

We are heavily involved in the ITAKA European initiative (Initiative Towards Sustainable Kerosene for Aviation), which aims to speed up the commercialisation of aviation biofuels in Europe.

Airbus was the first manufacturer to offer customers the option of delivering new aircraft with a blend of sustainable fuel through a programme developed in association with Air Total, which has installed the first ever sustainable biofuel station adjacent to the Airbus delivery centre in Toulouse. The option will also be introduced at our sites in Hamburg, Mobile and Tianjin. 

Building tomorrow’s infrastructure

This comprehensive innovation infrastructure enables us to focus on a range of research and development areas that we believe will play a key role in providing vital infrastructural solutions in the future. Below are just several of the major topics our research and development teams are focusing on. 


Urban air mobility

By 2030, 60% of the world’s population will live in cities. To address the rising concerns of traffic congestion, Airbus is harnessing its experience to develop solutions that will enable commuters and travellers to navigate our cities by air. 


Development of electric and hybrid-electric propulsion will enable quieter and cleaner commercial aircraft, opening up a range of new markets and possibilities. We have formed a partnership with Rolls-Royce and Siemens to develop the E-Fan X hybrid-electric flight demonstrator by 2020.

OneWeb satellite constellation

For the OneWeb constellation, our Defence and Space division will design and build more than 900 microsatellites to provide high-speed internet access across the globe – something more than half the world’s population currently lacks. The first launch is scheduled for 2019.

Story: Bridging the digital divide with OneWeb

Data-driven insights

Building the infrastructure of the future will also require more accurate and up-to-date data for customers and organisations. Fusing Airbus’ constellation of high-resolution satellites along with fleets of unmanned aircraft, Airbus Aerial can provide this actionable data, from analysing the damage caused by severe weather to improving the efficiency of an urban infrastructure project.

Responsibility & Sustainability

Our approach for responsible business

Minimising environmental impact

Operating responsibly

Innovating for sustainable solutions

Contributing to a safer and more prosperous world

Fostering quality education and inclusion

Reporting and performance data

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