Sustainable Skies: More efficient fuels, lighter materials and supersonic speeds are among the major goals manufacturers of private aircraft have set for future models.

Author:Bustos, Elida

Sustainability and technology are two closely related concepts in private aviation: the environment demands improvements from the industry, and these can only be achieved through more technology and investment.

When talking about sustainability, one of the crucial issues is fuel. It's not just about new designs that reduce fuel consumption: new developments could result in replacing the type of fuel that is now in use.

It's a two-pronged goal: lower consumption means more savings and less contamination for the planet. "One of the most significant trends for business aviation is our industry's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and mitigating climate change," David Coleal, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft, said in an interview.

Biofuel is already in use by the aeronautics industry, but it is still evolving and no meaningful advance is expected before 2025. Still, "its adoption could bring in a drastic change in the next two decades," Sameeksh Bansal, senior manager of the consulting and market intelligence firm Mordor Intelligence, told Latin Trade. Electric propulsion and hybrid engines add further options.

Another central theme for the industry concerns the materials used in manufacturing. A heavier aircraft consumes more fuel. Manufacturers are experimenting in their own laboratories and partnering with the world's leading universities, including Oxford in England. They are seeking to develop lighter and more resistant aluminum or compounds made from the powder of compacted aluminum. Titanium would be a better option, but its high cost limits its use to specific parts of turbines. "Some manufacturers are also using a mix of composite and metal structures to reduce the overall weight of the aircraft while maintaining the optimum strength required," said Bansal.

An additional challenge for the industry is to dramatically reduce flight times--something that is fundamental for the private aviation business. Doing that implies breaking the...

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