Airbus CEO speaks about Waterloo partnership and sustainable aviation

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Benoît Schultz, CEO of Airbus Canada, delivered a talk on Airbus’ sustainability initiatives to an audience of students, faculty members and staff at Waterloo Engineering’s Sedra Student Design Centre.  

One of the largest aircraft producers in the world, Airbus has committed to the aviation sector’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Schultz stated that his company needs partners like the University of Waterloo to develop lasting solutions to climate change. 

Prior to the talk, Schultz met with researchers and graduate students to explore opportunities to collaborate. The visit to campus finished with a fireside chat with Dr. Mary Wells, dean of Waterloo Engineering.  

To address climate change, Schultz said the aerospace sector will need a combination of solutions including hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuels and lightweight materials.  

“We also need to consider flight operations,” he added, noting a recent test flight in which two Airbus planes flying in formation, mimicking the flight patterns of birds, saved five to six tonnes of fuel combined.   

With so many factors at play, partnerships have become an important part of the way Airbus does business. Schultz pointed to NAVBLUE, an Airbus company located in the University’s David Johnston Research & Technology Park, as an example. The company focuses on optimizing flight operations and air traffic management for airlines and aircraft operators. 

A student asked Schultz about electric planes and hydrogen fuel cells, delving into considerations around energy efficiency and production challenges.  

“I want to hire you for my engineering team,” Schultz replied. “These are the questions our team asks every day.”   

Go to Partnership for sustainable aerospace for the full story.