Over 450 East London school pupils (aged 14-16) from 22 different schools assembled at ExCeL London for London City Airport’s fourth annual ‘STEM in Aviation Day’.
The main theme of this year’s event was ‘Future of Flight’, intended to inspire the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs in the advancements that are shaping the aviation industry – from sustainable fuels to artificial intelligence (AI).
Encouraging the education pipeline to produce enough people with the right science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills for aviation remains a challenge. A range of companies involved in aviation, including British Airways, Cranfield University, London City Airport and Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia, hosted sessions for the pupils, showcasing how important STEM-based skills are to the future of the sector.
Widerøe chief strategy officer Andreas K Aks welcomed pupils and provided insight into the airline’s joint research program on zero-emissions aviation with Rolls-Royce. The program is part of the airline’s ambition to replace and electrify its regional fleet of 30+ planes by 2030.
Bechtel and BAM Nuttall, two engineering companies involved in London City Airport’s £500m (US$643m) development program, also hosted presentations and interactive sessions, with Accenture, Emirates Aviation Experience and the University of East London (UEL) completing the line-up.
Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport, said, “Our industry is reliant on incoming STEM talent who will help deliver the innovations that propel a new era of clean aviation. For London City Airport, it’s particularly relevant due to our own growth plans and ambition to be the UK’s most sustainable airport, with a short-haul route profile making us ideally suited to be a testbed for electric aircraft.
“It’s by working with the entire industry that we can accelerate change – from aircraft manufacturers to airlines – and this helps capture the minds of young East Londoners about the opportunities on their doorstep.”