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Airbus launches green initiative
Published on: 2010-11-01
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French company seeks ideas from students to improve environment

Global aircraft manufacturer Airbus SAS offered a glimpse into the future when it unveiled its new aircraft, hailed as an engineers' dream, at the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) in the United Kingdom in July this year.

It has long, slim wings, semi-embedded engines, a U-shaped tail and light-weight body to improve the eco-efficiency of the flight.

The French company is now encouraging young Chinese airplane enthusiasts to shape the future of eco-efficient air travel in a global competition called Fly Your Ideas (FYI), which was launched by Airbus during the FIA.

More than 100 of them from universities in Beijing, Tianjin, Xi'an, Harbin and Nanjing attended the FYI competition gathering in Beijing, headquarters of Airbus China, together with Airbus employees on Oct 26.

"The competition is designed to stimulate ideas for both a more connected and sustainable world, and we want to stimulate young people from all over the world to engage with us so that we can continue to share the benefits of air transport while also looking after the environment," said Andrea Debbane, vice-president of strategy and strategic programs for Airbus China.

The competition is focused on the improvement of the environmental life cycle, an innovative approach Airbus uses to improve the environmental performance of an aircraft and its production process. It consists of five stages - design, supply chain, manufacturing, aircraft operations and aircraft end-of-life.

By mid-October, nearly 700 students from 37 countries and regions around the world had registered on the FYI website for the challenge. With more than 280 completing the registration, Asian students outnumbered those from other regions. Among them, 53 are from China.

The FYI competition will last seven months from December this year. The final contest will be held during the International Paris Airshow - Le Bourget, France - in June, 2011. Those shortlisted for round two will develop their ideas into more detailed submissions with support from Airbus staff.

Five finalist teams will win a VIP trip to Paris in June 2011 and make presentations to an independent jury including industry experts, who will announce their decision at the FYI 2011 awards ceremony.

The winners will be awarded the top prize of 30,000 euros ($41,541) and the runners-up 15,000 euros for their efforts to aid the development of a greener aviation industry.

"The Fly Your Ideas competition is a unique opportunity for students to be part of Airbus' vision for an eco-efficient aviation industry of the future," Debbane of Airbus said.

The Airbus FYI competition was first held in October 2008 with 2,350 students from more than 80 countries and regions.

A team of five called BHF from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics won the award of "Airbus Employee Choice". A group of four students called Eco-Apple from the same university won the Airbus China Green Idea award.

In order to bring students closer to the latest events in the world and improve their English, Airbus and China Daily also donated one-year subscriptions of the newspaper to students attending the initiative.

Airbus said it will make continual efforts to develop an eco-friendly aviation industry. So far, more than 90 percent of the 2 billion euros Airbus spends on research and development annually has brought about environmental benefits for current and future aircraft.

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