Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
I am delighted to hear of the development of a smart green aviation ecosystem. We must be with the trends and ahead of other countries in trying to capture some of the money that will follow this trail. There have been many new points coming from COP26 but one of the take-home points is that money will follow the greening of industry, aviation and pretty much all sectors in society.
We can consider the carbon dioxide outputs of aviation. Overall, commercial aviation accounts for 2.5% of global carbon outputs. We might think it is a small figure but it is a lot higher than the amount emitted from Germany, Europe's most industrialised country. Covid-19 has probably given aviation a bit of a "get out of jail" card because, unfortunately, the aeroplanes have been largely grounded for the past 18 months, although we all wanted them back in the sky. This sector will very much come into focus again.
County Clare is uniquely positioned to offer sustainable aviation a future and in the curtilage of Shannon Airport we have the amazing Future Mobility hub, which is a testing bed for automated vehicles. Land Rover and Jaguar are there and one can see little vehicles powering around with no driver at the wheel. If we are able to do that and be a leader in Europe in that regard, we could certainly be a leader when it comes to aviation. We have all been on Ryanair and Aer Lingus flights to sun holidays but aviation is changing by the month. In the past month we have seen personalised drones being tested in China and they will go commercial in the next two years in bringing individuals around.
Aviation is changing, including its fuel types, types of aircraft and the efficiency of aircraft engines. We have been able to attract the giants of aviation, such as Lufthansa, into Shannon over the years but we are now entering a new greening era of sustainable aviation. Rather than being outside the tent we must be leading, taking every opportunity, including money available from Europe and the home shores of Ireland. Leadership was demonstrated in developing Foynes, Shannon Airport and Ireland's aviation industry over many decades so we should once again take leadership in developing a sustainable future in aviation.