A debate on the future and growth of the aviation sector

17 juni 2019


The aviation sector is growing at an incredible rate. The image of aviation, however, is under pressure. So last week, the Aviation and Business Travel Symposium focused on the limits to growth in the sector, with the focus on the consequences of growth for the (business) traveller. The symposium was organised by Breda University of Applied Sciences for the fifteenth time.

In her opening speech, Elisabeth Minnemann (president of the Executive Board of BUas) said that “it is time for a debate on the future and growth of the sector. We feel a responsibility to take on a convening role because the aviation industry is an integral part in many of our degree programmes.” She told her audience: “Regardless of background, or which organisation or interest you are presenting, we all have a common interest: we want a future for the aviation industry, we want to be able to travel, and we do not want to ignore the adverse effects. We must find solutions, together.”

Schiphol’s ambition to become the most sustainable hub airport
Keynote speaker Dick Benschop (CEO of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and Elisabeth Minnemann’s spouse) made the struggles of the aviation sector perfectly clear. He talked about Schiphol’s ambition to become the most sustainable hub airport. “Sustainability is the big challenge for the sector. We want to become part of the solution, not to be part of the problem.” He discussed four themes: circular economy, communities, energy positive, and sustainable aviation. He showed how Schiphol is working hard to become more sustainable in all areas. Also, he made it clear that “sustainable aviation is going to be the big, big issue”. Referring to the Mission Possible report, he hoped for innovations. “There will be limits to growth, but I hope there will be no limits to innovation,” Dick Benschop concluded.

And that is what the other lectures also showed: that the sector has great ambitions and is working hard to reduce the adverse effects of growth. And that decarbonisation of air travel is the biggest challenge.

The chapel was filled with some 150 representatives of the aviation industry and students. Some of the questions during the discussions showed that there were also people in the audience with a more critical attitude towards aviation.