Clean Sky fouled by red tape, warns European aerospace industry body

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A European programme aimed at delivering a new generation of more environmentally friendly airliners could fail due to European Union bureaucracy, an industry body has warned.

The €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion), seven-year Clean Sky programme -to which the EU and a group of European aerospace companies committed in October 2006, each vowing to contribute 50% of the funding -is "still struggling to get off the ground" and will fail unless Brussels makes "rapid and far-reaching" procedural changes so the programme will be "no more than a year late", says the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe.

Speaking in Brussels for the association, Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said: "Europe has been quick to create a new source of income through emissions trading, but very slow in addressing the problem." He added: “Industry has been waiting to invest its €800 million for two years, but commission funding is still delayed.”

Enders saidClean Sky efforts are "in grave danger of suffocating in red tape" imposed by regulations that are "clearly ill-adapted to this type of partnership".

He warned: "We face the clear and present danger that the programme will fail to produce the needed results on time [and] that industry will very soon be obliged to redirect these funds towards other national or company technology initiatives."

Enders emphasisedthe competitive importance of Clean Sky, which is primarily aimed at the regeneration of the Airbus A320 narrowbody family. "This is not an academic exercise for us. It has a background in real products and future needs."