Seven major European aerospace manufacturers - Airbus SAS, Dassault Aviation, Eurocopter SAS, Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg GmbH, Rolls-Royce plc, Safran and Thales - have signed a letter of intent in a Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) that works on the preparation of an innovative "Clean Sky" policy. The Clean Sky JTI will be the largest research project ever set up jointly with the European Commission and would run over a seven year period with a total budget estimated at around 1,7 billion euros.

The "Clean Sky" JTI is an innovative, large technological research programme that will radically improve the impact of Air Transport on the environment and will deliver innovative technologies and solutions enabling step changes in the reduction of noise, emissions and consumption for the next generation of aircraft and associated components and operations. Its purpose is to demonstrate and validate the technological breakthroughs that are necessary to reach the environmental goals set by the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE).

ACARE goals to be met by 2020 include a 50 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions through drastic reduction of fuel consumption, an 80 per cent reduction of NOx emissions and a 50 per cent reduction of external noise. It also aims for green product life cycle design including manufacturing, maintenance and disposal.

The Clean Sky JTI is based on a 50 per cent funding by the European Commission, whilst the other 50 per cent are supported by the companies signing the LoI as well as other partners joining the initiative. This research project will be a flagship for Europe, enabling the industry to network with universities, research centres, SMEs, which work together to minimise environmental impact in the future.

A final agreement is expected to be reached by the beginning of next year.

The Clean Sky JTI will be managed in the same way as an industrial programme. It will be composed of a General Assembly, an Executive Committee and a Director with his staff.