Paris Air Forum 2019 – 6th edition,3 Ministers and all that is flying for the Data Revolution
No less than 3 ministers of the French Government have been present for this 6th edition of the Paris Air Forum, taking place this year at the Maison de la Mutualité in Paris: Madame Elisabeth Borne, minister of Transports, and Madame Florence Parly, minister of the French Armed Forces, have both participated in the opening of this day which was then closed at the end of the afternoon by Madame Frédérique Vidal, French minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.
Organised by La Tribune with Forum-Media, as scientific partner, as well as Groupe ADP, founding chair of the event since 2014, the three presidents of these organizations initiated the day of meetings, conferences, round tables discussion and key note presentations. Therefore, Max Armanet, President of the scientific committee of the Paris Air Forum and President of Forum-Media, welcomes the audience in the great hall of the Théâtre de la Maison de la Mutualité in Paris. He recalls the challenges of aviation and the environment and places this 6th edition of the Paris Air Forum under the theme of Data Revolution.
The president of La Tribune, Jean-Christophe Tortora, underlines in this context the challenge for aviation:
Growth of worldwide traffic with more aircraft but less emissions to avoid that aviation becomes a scapegoat. Another strong reason for the reiteration of this day – particularly in our modern times of remote communication means with digital virtuality and social media – lays in the continuous importance «to talk to each other in person and meet» despite digitalization. (sic!)
Since drones and future vertical take-off vehicles are developing and integrating into urban mobility, there is also the question of securing airport zones.
Therefore, Augustin de Romanet, CEO of Groupe ADP and founding chairman of the Paris Air Forum, is pleased with this 6th edition and reminds that the contribution of the aviation and aerospace sector for the French economy is essential, also sustained by the geographic situation of France as well as by her touristic potential. He especially wishes to make aviation a vector and sector of progress.
Very good results of the industry in 2018
On the eve of the International Air and Space Show at Le Bourget, organized by GIFAS (Group of French Aeronautical and Space Industries), the president of GIFAS and Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, Mr. Eric Trappier, joins the opening of the Paris Air Forum 2019, highlighting the excellent results of the industry in 2018, three quarters of which were generated by civil activity, as well as the very strong export component representing 85% of consolidated sales. It is also the first positive position for France’s trade balance, then an important industry, well represented by the number of ministers and the concentration of civil and military leaders present at the sessions during the day.
Elizabeth Borne, aviation to open more remote areas
Elisabeth Borne, Minister of Transport, during her opening speech at the Paris Air Forum 2019, expresses and supports France’s ambitions as the world’s leading tourist country, as well as important air services to open all more remote French territories (DROM-TOM etc.). She emphasizes her preference for lighter structures with a small air line instead of high speed TGV lines needing large investments in ground infrastructure with a carbon footprint not always obvious. She recalls that air transport is the first global sector that has a commitment to contain its carbon emissions at the current state of 2% in 2020 and this despite growth! This will ensure the sustainability of air transport which, in its last 50 years, has reduced its kerosene needs by 5 times less CO2 emissions, and commits to a 50% reduction until 2050. Future air transport will be “cleaner” and greener, given the efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, while maintaining its competitiveness and efficiency. The minister also emphasizes that it is not national decisions but decisions at the European level that are necessary, with the spike that Sweden and the Netherlands tax the air transport half the rate of France, nevertheless these countries being well perceived for their environmental commitment. In affirming the government’s support for France’s commitment to more efficient and greener air transport, she then left the room to convey a similar message to the National Assembly in the framework of the law on the orientation of mobility (LOM).
Florence Parly, respond by incremental or disruptive innovation to revolutions
Second Minister participating at the opening, Florence Parly, Minister of the French Armed Forces, raises the future challenges of military aeronautics to which the government will respond with a plan unveiled the following Monday at the Paris Air Show. In particular, she highlights the power of data with applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Technological evolutions, even the digital revolution, are upsetting strategic and military equilibria and require rethinking defense. Innovations must be incremental and disruptive at the same time: “revolutions must be answered by innovation“. The concept of war, and thus decision-making, are profoundly altered with the increased need for speed, stealth and interconnectivity. These technological challenges respond to a tempo of war that accelerates with a reaction time that retracts, hence the utility of AI and interconnected weapons.
Cyberspace is exposed to anonymous and stealth attacks with attempts to disrupt our systems. To meet all these challenges, it is also necessary to train and retain talents for the defense and mutual development of civilian and military, hence the recent creation of the Innovation Agency and the Directorate General of Digital and Information and Communication Systems (DGNUM). This Directorate must ensure the overall coherence of the information and communication systems of the Ministry of the Armed Forces and thus contribute to the maintenance in operational condition of all the defense systems, more and more interconnected. France will also cooperate with Germany and Spain for a common artificial intelligence strategy, the details of which will also be communicated at the opening of the Paris Air Show.
A series of round tables, discussions and conferences on the themes of digital and the environment in the context of French and European aeronautics and space followed in four parallel sessions. The most representative national and international senior management representatives of companies and organizations of the sector are present. Around the themes of civil aviation, the aerospace industry, defense and space the challenges of digital continuity, especially for SMEs, are discussed (Eric Trappier, Chairman of GIFAS, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation) and the importance of the control of the data. Nevertheless, Man will remain in the loop despite the AI and all automatisms and algorithms (General Philippe Lavigne, Chief of Staff of the Air Force).
The system of air combat of the future (SCAF) in Franco-German cooperation, single-pilot aircraft, the future of airlines with low-cost models, flight delays, are also discussed together with the challenges and problems of air traffic control in Europe, that the nuisance for the residents of airports, which are voiced in a meeting by association representatives.
Training in new technologies and the seduction of digital talents at the heart of the stakes
For the industry of the future and its operational needs, it is necessary to have women and men well trained in new technologies, to make evolve multi-purpose and interconnected systems; Training and attracting and retaining digital talent are huge challenges on a global scale. This is a key argument by Joyce Kline (Managing Director, Accenture), who presents figures for the global “talent war”. It is vital, to ensure the value chain of the aeronautical and space industries, to attract and retain the best numeric analytical and digital talent to guarantee innovation, operations and maintenance (MRO – maintenance, repair & overhaul) in an extremely competitive environment for all industries.
An Innovation Village presents novelties of startups in the aviation industry. In the afternoon are awarded the trophies to the most innovative young start-ups of the sector.
New in 2019: This year’s Air Forum offers the possibility of one-to-one meetings between participants and representatives of companies during the day in a dedicated salon, organized in advance with an optimized calendar according to the individual availability and interest of each party.
Frédérique Vidal, for innovative European initiatives and the preservation of independence and sovereignty
The closing speech by the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique VIDAL, states that the spirit of innovation goes hand in hand with risk taking and the right to make mistakes, to allow to bounce back after a failure. The minister supports the development of startups with a culture of entrepreneurship also for students with professionalization from the bachelor degree to the doctorate as well as the government investment funds for breakthrough innovations (following French Law PACTE).
Unity is strength and
innovative initiatives must first be European before being French with many
examples of projects already operating (Galileo, Copernicus [arousing the greed
of GAFAM …], the constellation Oneweb …).
The major programs for defense, research and innovation must preserve independence and sovereignty as well as ensure competitiveness, while also enabling an ecological and digital transition. Artificial intelligence and data are vital issues for the air, space and military sectors, guaranteeing the future with more aircraft flying and less pollution. Cordula Barzantny for AeroMorning
All sessions were supported by a simultaneous English / French translation service depending on the language used by each speaker, but ultimately there were not many people using the wireless headsets available.
The aeronautical and space world meets in France and speaks English (and French).