The impacts of commercial aviation on the environment are serious, widespread and long-lasting. Areas near airports are subject to noise pollution during takeoff and landing. Manufacturing and operating aircraft demand materials, energy and resources. The emissions created by burning jet fuel cause air pollution and, over decades, climate change: commercial aviation produces 4.9% of the total human contribution to global warming. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has targeted the stabilisation of net CO2 emissions from the aviation industry by 2020, with a long-term goal to reduce net carbon emissions by 50% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.
As a result, many countries are looking for means to abate emissions from commercial aviation. For instance, the 2020 and 2050 Visions of the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE) pledge similar targets to those set by IATA, leading to multi-billion-euro research and technology initiatives, such as the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) and CleanSky, designed with the goal of “Bringing Sustainable Air Transport Closer”. As recognised by ACARE, “aviation must bring about step changes in technology and operational procedures on top of currently available solutions, to improve its environmental performance by keeping total climate effects at sustainable levels.”
In order both to meet these challenges and to remain globally competitive, the Canadian aeronautics industry has created its own green aviation initiatives through the Canadian Aviation Environmental Working Group (CAEWG), the Canadian Aerospace Environmental Technology RoadMap (CAETRM) and the Green Aviation Research & Development Network (GARDN), a Business-Led Network of Centres of Excellence. Given the importance of the aerospace industry in Canada, which employs 80,000 highly skilled Canadians and generates $23.6 billion in revenue, these are crucial initiatives. However, they do not address the need for engineers and scientists trained with the required skills to bring about the radical changes in technology. UTIAS Sustainable Aviation Programs fill that gap by establishing a new interdisciplinary program focused on Environmentally Sustainable Aviation, which directly addresses the target area of environmental science and technologies.
These organisations are seeking employees who possess critical non-technical skills, including communication abilities and project management skills. UTIAS Sustainable Aviation Programs address these needs through strategic professional training opportunities including a Student Research Symposium and the Research Project Management Workshop, supplemented by industrial internships and practical experience in managing undergraduate interns. Students will have networking opportunities with regulatory, governmental and non-governmental organisation involvement in sustainable aviation through the annual International Workshop on Aviation and Climate Change and Summer School on Sustainable Aviation.
With UTIAS Sustainable Aviation Programs, students work in state-of-the art facilities with global leaders in their field, in fields that are in demand and projected to grow. Students will develop technical skills at the leading Canadian university for aeronautical technical skill development and be prepared to contribute to future generations of environmentally friendly aircrafts. With the interdisciplinary training in sustainable aviation and renewable biofuels as well as the strong professional skills training, the skills that students acquire are and will continue to be in exceptionally high demand.