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Cranfield University and Regional & City Airports (RCA) have today (Friday 22 July) committed to a strategic partnership to promote the development, testing and deployment of innovation across the aviation industry.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on the final day of the Farnborough International Airshow by Professor Dame Helen Atkinson DBE FREng, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing at Cranfield University, and Andrew Bell, Chief Executive of RCA.

Developing future technologies and skills

The partnership will focus on developing the future technologies and skills required to deliver a sustainable future for aviation, a progressive passenger experience and to foster greater collaboration around future skills and sharing best practice.

Professor Dame Helen Atkinson DBE FREng said: “There is a strong and growing impetus across the aviation industry to move quickly to a sustainable future. This partnership is another step on that journey and I look forward to our joint working to further develop technology, operations, skills and the passenger experience.”

Sustainable future for aviation

Andrew Bell, Chief Executive of RCA, added: “This new partnership between RCA and Cranfield is a reflection of our shared commitment to a sustainable future for aviation and the communities we serve. Our combined experience, expertise and infrastructure creates a powerful alliance to drive forward innovation across our industry.”

Cranfield is the only university in Europe with its own airport and runway, its own aircraft, pilots and air navigation services. Cranfield is at the heart of the global aerospace sector having provided leading postgraduate education, training and research for over 70 years. The University supports the development and testing of new airborne technologies and procedures for future flight through its unique Saab 340B flying laboratory and classroom, known as the National Flying Laboratory Centre.

RCA is a leading UK regional airport and jet centre operator, whose strategy is to help smaller regional airports to prosper through effective management and collaboration. RCA is a partner in a project to demonstrate hybrid electric aircraft on regional routes, funded through the Government’s Future Flight Challenge Fund.