An Interview with Paul Hutton, CEO of Cranfield Aerospace
Ahead of our Catalyst Forum's "Towards Zero Carbon Aviation" session, we caught up with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions' CEO, Paul Hutton, who explained the ways in which he's doing his part to help us achieve our net zero target.
What is the central challenge, that you see in your work, to a rapid acceleration of the net zero transition?
"From the USA’s multi- billion investment through the Inflation Reduction Act and the ‘France 2030’ investment plan in France to the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ programme, it is clear we are in an international race for capital, skills, and the industries of the future.
We must act quickly to cement the UK as a prime destination for international capital and unlock export opportunities for British businesses around the globe. Failing to do so will mean missed opportunities.
International markets and investors are seeking to make decisions now on where to invest for the future. The UK can either seek to provide the incentives for investment or else these markets will go elsewhere."
How are you working to tackle the above?
"We continue to work with government to instil a greater sense of urgency and are encouraging robust targets and milestones to drive progress. Only by creating that sense of urgency and thereby showing intent through appropriate targets, regulation and legislation, can we crowd in the investment that is required to get us to net zero by 2050. We also need to work with stakeholders to alter the incremental mindset that has come to dominate aerospace. Our engineering teams are working at the frontier of science and technology and pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved."
"We must act quickly to cement the UK as a prime destination for international capital and unlock export opportunities for British businesses around the globe. Failing to do so will mean missed opportunities."
With whom do you want to connect to help enable the above?
"We are keen to connect with the broader investment community directly to provide them with an opportunity to understand the commercial viability of the zero emission aircraft we are developing and to demystify misperceptions about the technical viability they may have.
We need to work, in particular with government departments such as BEIS and DfT to develop meaningful targets that will incentivise potential customers to purchase our zero emissions aircraft. Airlines could also be offered incentives to purchase zero emissions aircraft, which may include subsidies or the government considering the use of mandating zero emissions aircraft on Public Service Obligation routes. That, in turn, will drive increased investment, enabling us to accelerate our progress."