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İbrahim Sünnetçi

Boeing, İstanbul Technical University & Turkish Airlines Signed the Türkiye Sustainable Aviation Platform!

Issue 18 - 2023
Boeing, İstanbul Technical University & Turkish Airlines Signed the Türkiye Sustainable Aviation Platform!

The opening ceremony of the Türkiye Sustainable Aviation Platform, established in collaboration between Turkish Airlines (THY), Boeing Turkey, and İstanbul Technical University (İTÜ), took place on Wednesday, May 31, at 'The Grand Tarabya Hotel' with the participation of stakeholders from the Turkish Aviation Sector.

he opening speeches of the event were delivered by Ayşem Sargın, Managing Director and Country Executive for Boeing Turkey; Prof. Dr. Lütfiye Durak Ata, Vice Rector of İstanbul Technical University (İTÜ); and Levent Konukcu, Chief Investment & Technology Officer at Turkish Airlines (THY), in the presence of Julie A. EADEH, the U.S. Consul General in İstanbul, and Prof. Dr. İsmail Koyuncu, the Rector of İstanbul Technical University. Brian Moran, Vice President of Boeing's Global Sustainability Policy & Partnerships, who was the keynote speaker of the ceremony, delivered a comprehensive presentation on Boeing's ongoing efforts in aviation sustainability and the company's vision and goals for 2050 in this field. Following the opening speeches, the signing ceremony for the Türkiye Sustainable Aviation Platform took place with the participation of Ayşem Sargın, Managing Director and Country Executive for Boeing Turkey; Prof. Dr. Lütfiye Durak Ata, Vice Rector of İTÜ; and Levent Konukcu, Chief Investment & Technology Officer at THY. 

During the Signing Ceremony on behalf of Boeing, THY, and İTÜ, who share a desire to develop an alliance of aviation stakeholders in Türkiye with an aim to work towards a vision of collaborating to create impact for a more sustainable aviation industry, the ‘Türkiye Aviation Sustainability Alliance Signing Certificate’ is inked by Sargın, Konukçu, and Ata. According to the ‘Türkiye Aviation Sustainability Alliance Signing Certificate’ the themes of any such future alliance may include:

• Alliance Building & Partnering for Aviation Sustainability

• Leveraging Education for Aviation Sustainability, 

• Spreading Awareness for Aviation Sustainability, and

• Delivering a Multi-stakeholder SAF Roadmap for Türkiye.

The event concluded after the panel discussion titled "Collaboration for a Sustainable Future in Aviation," moderated by Filiz Hayırlı, Government Affairs, Strategy, & Business Development Director at Boeing Turkey.


During her opening speech at the event, Managing Director and Country Executive for Boeing Turkey, Ayşem Sargın, stated that Boeing has been present in Türkiye for over 75 years and expressed their pride in the rising success of the Turkish aviation industry during this period. SARGIN stated, "During this growth process, we have worked hand in hand with Türkiye and the Turkish Aviation Sector in various fields, ranging from industry to services, from technology to education. We have achieved significant successes together." She further added, "We have had important suppliers from Türkiye. We have had joint projects in the patent stage in R&D. We have developed technologies together, and today, there is apart from Türkiye in all of Boeing's next-generation aircraft." 

Sargın expressed her views on the Türkiye Sustainable Aviation Platform with the following words: "We are delighted to take our long-standing collaboration with both Turkish Airlines and İstanbul Technical University to a new phase with the establishment of this platform for sustainable aviation in Türkiye. I hope that this platform will grow with the participation of other aviation stakeholders in a brief time, and together, we will increase Türkiye's contribution to global sustainable aviation practices through collaborative efforts. As you know, as Boeing, we support the aviation industry's commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To this end, we offer new technology products that provide greater fuel efficiency and result in reduced carbon emissions to our customers. On the other hand, we attach significant importance to sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to achieve industry goals, and in fact, we have been working on this issue with industry stakeholders worldwide for over a decade. With the roadmap we will develop within the framework of the platform we establish today; we also aspire to lead Türkiye's transformation towards sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Within this platform, we aim to support sustainability in the Turkish Aviation Sector through various activities such as education, awareness-raising initiatives, and enhancing collaboration. Of course, we will achieve this common goal not alone but together with our valuable business partners. We invite our entire industry to collaborate with a multifaceted approach that will both decarbonize aviation and make the social and economic benefits of aviation accessible to everyone." 

Talking about sustainable aerospace at Boeing and how they think about this important subject, Moran underlined that no single company or no single entity can achieve Sustainable Aerospace alone. "So, you saw that theme of togetherness. This is not just a slogan; its sustainable aerospace together is how we really think about this topic; it is so important to us. And if you just look around you, this is the togetherness. This is us coming together. Creating a platform today and bringing other people in due course to help in this important mission. No single company or no single entity will ever do this alone. So that's why we're continuously talking about sustainable aerospace together." 

Regarding Boeing's role in Sustainable Aerospace, Moran pointed out that Boeing has always been part of any development any improvement in aerospace, and added, "Boeing, it's not 250 years old, but we're a little bit over 100 years old. And when Bill BOEING, our founder, in 1929, about 15 years after he founded the company, he said to let no improvement in flying or flying equipment ever pass us by, and what he meant by that is that when there is a step change in aerospace, Boeing better be part of it and that's how we got the 707, that's how we got the Apollo program that brought us the moon, that's how we got the 787 the first all-composite airplane. You can bet that when there is the next step change in aerospace technology, we will be part of that."

Moran highlighted that just before the pandemic, in 2019, 4.5 Billion flights took place, and this number is going to double in the next 20 years in terms of economic activity. "7 Trillion Dollars in goods move around the world through aviation, and in the process, we generate about 87.7 Million jobs. So aerospace is a force for good, but we must make sure it stays sustainable. If you look at our contribution to global emissions, it is about 2.5 percent. These are carbon emissions, and you can see how we fit relative to transportation, electricity, and heat. So that number is not high or low; it is what it is. But the challenge we have before is that number stands to grow. So, it is our job to make sure that we reach net zero by the middle of the century," Moran added.

Regarding transportation emissions, Moran underlined that while passenger vehicles contribute about 45 percent, the aviation sector contributes about 12 percent. "Again, that's where I'm not judging, I'm not comparing, but it's important to have some sense of the proportionality because the ground is going to electrify, and we're well on our way as I'll show you in a second. We do not have the luxury in aviation electrifying long missions, so that is why keeping the different modes of transport in context is very, very important. So, for 2050 our goal is to be carbon neutral. And as the airlines under IATA have set that goal, we as the manufacturers have set that goal, and most importantly, through the ICAO, 193 countries stand together and set that goal."

According to Moran, in 2050, aviation would look like twice as many passengers, 10 Billion passengers, 9 Trillion economic activity, and 180 Million jobs. "This is what we're fighting for. This is what it is about," Moran said.

Moran emphasized that to decarbonize airspace, Boeing has defined four strategies, namely, Fleet Renewal, Operational Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Advanced Technology. Moran shared the following information on these 4 strategies:

"It very much starts with fleet renewal. Every generation of airplanes that we introduce into the aerospace is about 15 to 25 percent lower emissions than the airplanes they replace. Levent (Koyuncu) talked about the young fleet that Turkish Airlines has. So, this is an airline that invests in new capabilities and keeps the fleet young so that the emissions stay relatively low. The second pillar is about operational efficiencies. Many of you have flown into several European airports, and you end up circling. The airspace is congested. The airspace is antiquated. Eurocontrol estimates there is about eight to 10 percent of CO2 locked up in the sky just by inefficient flying. Not making use of the digital technologies that are in the cockpit; fuel dashboard, wind updates, weather updates that continues to send arrivals which allow pilots to fly rather than step change to fight continuous gradual descent, not burning unnecessary fuel. So that's operational efficiency. Renewable energy is what I am going to talk about the most, and if you think about the platform we are launching today and the importance of sustainable aviation fuel, which is what it's about. But it is SAF, and it is also green hydrogen because you need green hydrogen to produce SAF. Last but certainly not least, and back to Bill BOEING's quote: Let no new improvement in flying and flying equipment pass us by; we are investing in advanced technologies today. We have an ECO Demonstrator Program that has evaluated over 230 technologies over 10 years. A third of those that have made it onto the current airplanes, we are investing in the Transonic Trust Brace Wing Program. This is a demonstrator where together with NASA and other partners. We are going to invest up to a Billion Dollars into two flying demonstrators to explore new technologies for engines and new tech technologies for aerodynamics. So those are the four strategies."

Moran stressed that SAF is a requirement and added, "This is the baseline. Why do I say this? Sustainable Aviation Fuels make every flight 50 to 80 percent lower emissions; it is a drop in fuel. It can go into a 50/50 blend; we've flown 100 percent and are available for every flight to make every mission more sustainable." 

Regarding the electrification and hydrogen propulsion in aerospace, Moran shared his comments in the following lines:

"Yes, electric and hybrid electric will play a role, but the battery density and the limitations around physics will not allow us to fly long missions and long durations on battery. Certain missions, certain regional missions, will be decarbonized, but that is if you look at that's less than one percent of the total global emissions. If you electrify every possible mission in this range, based on today's technology or even stretching the assumption, it's less than one percent. We chase every percent in this business, so it is important… Over time electricity and hydrogen will earn their way in. And yes, hydrogen propulsion will eventually earn its way into aviation, but as our CEO often says, this is something for the second half of the century. Today there are 23.000 airplanes in the sky. I showed you the flights we're going to be at 9 Billion flights in 20 years. That means we are going to be at 45.000 airplanes by then. These are conventional airplanes that fly on jet fuel. So, they require SAF even as hydrogen and some other novel propulsion technologies earn their way into this system."

Levent Konukcu, Chief Investment & Technology Officer at Turkish Airlines (THY), emphasized climate change as one of the most pressing global issues, and it has gained significant importance on the aviation industry's agenda. He added, "Aviation is one of the industries that has taken global action and set the most comprehensive goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the global face of Türkiye, we closely monitor the developments in the sector. As the flag carrier airline, we are taking significant steps that befit our country and partnership." 

Levent Konukcu mentioned in his speech that they recently announced their strategies for the year 2033, and they have included the sustainability initiatives they will implement soon. He stated, "In this 10-year strategy, we have outlined our efforts in the field of sustainability. Accordingly, we have announced our goal of becoming a carbon-neutral airline by 2050 to all our stakeholders. Fleet modernization, improvements under our comprehensive fuel-saving policy, and increasing the use of sustainable aviation fuel will be our key pillars as we progress towards this goal."

Brian Moran, Vice President of Boeing's Global Sustainability Policy & Partnerships, emphasized the alignment of the establishment of the Türkiye Sustainable Aviation Platform with Boeing's decarbonization strategies. He explained the four strategies supporting the aviation industry's goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050: "Transition to Renewable Energy, Advanced Technologies, Operational Efficiency, and Fleet Renewal." Moran stated, "In the past 10 years, we have invested approximately US$55 Billion in innovation to enhance the sustainable product lifecycle, and we offer our customers high fuel efficiency and low-carbon emission products." Boeing also commits to making its commercial aircraft compatible with 100% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030 and leads the industry to expand the fuel supply.

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