The project DEvelopment Pathways for Aviation up to 2050 (DEPA 2050) developed pre-Covid 19 aviation scenarios and analysed the corresponding long-term effects up to the year 2050. Besides the consideration of vehicle types with conventional propulsion concepts further disruptive concepts have been considered (i.e. hybrid-electric aircraft/supersonic aircraft). In a first step, detailed system and trend analyses with regard to the aviation market, aviation technologies, alternative fuels, maintenance and air traffic management were conducted in the scope of the project. In a second step, those analyses were integrated into two different technology scenarios. The first one assumed a conservative-evolutionary future technological development while the second one assumed a rather progressive technology development. Combined with vehicle-specific demand forecasts for future passenger and flight growth a subsequent impact analysis of the long-term effects could be conducted with special regard of the overall objective of climate-neutrality of the air transport sector by 2050. In this respect, significant technology potentials became apparent although additional measures are needed to achieve overall climate-neutrality. While the relative CO2 emissions per passenger-kilometer decreased in all investigated scenarios the overall CO2 emissions are likely to increase up to 2050 due to the forecasted total air traffic growth. To compensate the corresponding negative impact further technological advances as well as an increasing usage of sustainable aviation fuels are needed. Meanwhile, further positive benefits of the overall air transport development can be expected for the field of mobility (e.g. improved connectivity through the growing field of urban air mobility) but also with regard to the economic impact of air transport in terms of generated employment and gross value added.
Alireza Dadashi and Dr. Kai Wicke of the Institute of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul conducted research on technology development in the field of maintenance, and identified technological trends and challenges for the future maintenance of sustainable aircraft concepts.