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  • Heathrow has successfully pitched two forward-thinking ideas to Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge. The win gives the airport the opportunity to research new ground-breaking concepts that, in future, could help to reduce emissions, cut costs and make the airport more efficient as the industry works to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

    Fly2Plan aims to learn how new technologies such as cloud infrastructure and blockchain could use the airport's data more efficiently, creating a decentralised, resillient and efficient operating model to support cross-company collaboration. The concept has the potenital to unlock opportunities for new entrants, cut costs and safely allow autonomous drone operators to maximise their use of UK airspace.

    The project is closely aligned with the Prime Minister’s key ambitions. The efficient use of airspace is vital for creating the trade opportunities needed to make Global Britain a reality. Autonomous drones and net zero regional flight could support ambitions to level up every corner of the country by connecting more of the UK’s regions to global growth, all while delivering on the industry’s commitment to build back better.

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    The objectives

    The Future Flight Challenge, funded through £125 million of government grants, has three overarching objectives:


    1. Safeguard the UK's advantage in aerospace research & development. 

    2. Deliver a reduction in aviation emissions (2030 & beyond). 

    3. Create an economic boost from new forms of mobility.

    The approach

    Heathrow has kicked-off the first stage of the research of these concepts, which is set to take place through till early 2022. The next phase will see live demonstrations of the concepts in action with the long-term aim of wider adoption across the aviation industry.

    Heathrow are collaborating with several groups across a number of sectors to bring this challenge to life including Oxford University, Cranfield University, Kings College London, NATS, SITA, Rolls Royce, University of Southampton, Deloitte, UCL, London City Airport and Highlands and Islands Airports.

    The challenge brings together established aviation companies, academics, and SMEs and the tech industry to research the use of drones, air mobility, air traffic management as well as infrastructure innovation. 

    “Heathrow has always served as a testbed for ground-breaking green technologies. These concepts go further than ever before, with the potential to transform the role that aviation plays in Britain’s economy. The Future Flight Challenge has come at a critical time for the country and our industry. We’re proud to be driving forward with these disruptive initiatives in the year that the UK hosts COP26 and our industry builds back better, as we work to recover from the devastating impacts of this pandemic.” - Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye
     

     

    Contact

    If you would like to know more about Fly2Plan or the Future Flight Challenge, or would like to speak with a member of our team, get in touch at Fly2Plan@heathrow.com.

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