A new aviation strategy green paper, ‘Aviation 2050: the future of UK aviation’, has been announced by the Department of Transport today. 

Proposals included in the aviation strategy consultation include:

  • setting out a framework for future sustainable growth
  • commitments to signing further liberal air service agreements with countries around the world to boost trade and tourism
  •  measures to encourage greater competition and more choice for passengers
  • modernised UK airspace to improve efficiency and reduce delays

Commenting on the launch of the aviation strategy, Professor Graham Braithwaite, Director of Transport Systems at Cranfield University, said: “The aviation strategy green paper is a welcome step towards enabling the UK to unlock the potential of digital aviation. As technological advances enable greater integration between aircraft and emerging technologies such as such as drones and autonomous vehicles, it is vital that regulations and legislation keep pace.

At Cranfield, together with our industrial partners,  we are helping make the vision set out in the green paper a reality. Last week, our airport became the first in the UK to operate through a digital air traffic control centre. This technology will enable smarter approaches to air traffic control by digitising and integrating airport functions. We are shortly about to commence the first test flights of the National Beyond the visual line of sight Experimentation Corridor (NBEC), that aims to provide a safe, managed environment for drone and unmanned aircraft experimentation which will work towards their integration into controlled and uncontrolled airspace. 

Both of these capabilities are a key component of our UK flagship research facility, the Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC), due to officially open in 2020. Working with our partners in DARTeC, we are looking to develop new digital solutions to tackle the challenges of over-capacity in both airports and airspace, develop improved passenger experiences and create more sustainable air travel.” 


About Cranfield University

Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Cranfield Aerospace

Cranfield is the number one university in Europe for aerospace. We are the only university in Europe to own and run an airport and to have airline status. We have been at the forefront of aerospace technology for 70 years.

As the UK's most business-engaged University, we have long-term relationships and close commercial partnerships with many companies in the sector including Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

Our education, research and consultancy is enhanced by our world-class facilities including the National Flying Laboratory Centre – a unique national asset which provides a hands-on, flying experience, along with flight deck simulators and industrial-scale gas turbine engine test facilities used for performance and diagnostic studies. The Aerospace Integration Research Centre, a £35 million innovative centre built in partnership with Airbus and Rolls-Royce, fosters collaboration between industry and academia. A new £65 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre will also be built at Cranfield to spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation technology.

Notable Cranfield alumni include Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce plc and Ralph Hooper, who attended the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield in 1946 and went on to become one of the UK’s most important post-war aircraft designers, creating the Hawker Harrier jump jet.