5 questions to Dr. Anna Christmann, Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy.

Portraits - Pioneers of the aerospace industry and political decision-makers provide personal insights and their assessment of current industry trends.

1    What are your personal expectations for #ILA22 – what are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to a real new beginning for a sustainable industry that is committed to the goal of climate-neutral aviation. We are pulling in the same direction. After the crisis, I am fortunate to start my new position with an ILA where personal exchange with industry representatives is possible again. I am eager to experience new technologies and ideas and to engage in a constructive exchange with the entire industry.

2    For you personally, do you see a most important trend in aerospace at the very moment?

Few sectors were hit so hard by the Covid-19 crisis as the civil aviation industry and, in the aftermath of this pandemic, the industry will undergo major changes. I welcome the fact that the industry is nevertheless working very seriously on the transformation towards greater sustainability and climate neutrality. It is to proactively develop technologies, that will allow us to demonstrate in Europe how sustainable aviation can be achieved.

On the road to transformation, aerospace companies will invest even more in disruptive technologies but also in familiar fields such as new materials and manufacturing processes. That is why topics such as artificial intelligence, new materials and digitalization continue to play a central role.

3    What can be done in politics, to accelerate the goal of climate neutrality in the aerospace industry?

The vision of “Zero Emission Aircraft” is a strategic objective of the government in the field of aerospace research.

To achieve this, we need intermediate steps such as:

  • Optimizations such as lightweight construction, digitalization, aerodynamics, new materials. This can reduce CO2 emissions from aircraft by up to 50%.
  • Expanding the use of SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuels) / PtL (Power-to-Liquid). To enable this step, their availability must improve and the price of this synthetic kerosene must decrease.
  • Building on this, hydrogen (H2) is an appealing vision. Realising an H2 regional aircraft demonstrator by 2030 is realistic and a key goal of the BMWK-LuFo Climate programme (Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection).

The German government has (further) developed various programmes and instruments, including the aerospace research programme, now called LuFo-Klima (‘Luftfahrtforschungsprogramm’), to stimulate application-oriented R&D for the development of new technologies with these control instruments.

4    If you could meet one famous aerospace personality – from today or from the past: Who would it be and why?

I would like to meet with the female aerospace pioneers and encourage all young women to take interest in this high-tech sector. When talking about aviation, many think of the Montgolfier brothers, Otto Lilienthal or the Wright brothers who have, without question, shown how to boldly revolutionise the possibilities of human movement.

I would like to help many young women set out on their path to becoming the aviation revolutionaries of the future. With women like Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse, Melli Beese, Thea Rasche or Hanna Reitsch there are already some who should be better known today. I would also like to see the first German woman in space, who can share her experiences and inspire many young girls and women.

5    In your view, what is the aerospace industries most important addition to economy and society as a whole?

Aerospace stand for high-technology that can help us tackle many social challenges. It is a mainstay of the German economy and it connects people and companies alike.

We aim for Germany to become a pioneer for a sustainable and environmentally compatible air transport system. This requires further investment in environmentally friendly technologies and consistent efforts to develop alternative and sustainable engines and fuels that can also be used in other industries.

Too many people think of space travel as ‘Star Trek’ or space tourism for the few. In reality, it benefits us all significantly every day and is an important source of data and fascination for science. Starting with Earth observation, which can help us make agriculture more sustainable and prevent forest fires. But space technologies also let us communicate and connect globally. They control cars, ships and planes, international trade and even financial markets. They improve our medical care and help us better protect our environment and human lives.