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UWaterloo institute aimed at sustainable air travel

The University of Waterloo has launched Canada’s first institute focused on sustainable aeronautics.

The school says the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics will look to shape the future of the aeronautics industry during a key time for both the industry and the world’s climate.

“More attention has put more pressure on policymakers and industry leaders to act,” said Suzanne Kearns, who is serving as WISA’s director.

“Reducing carbon emissions is a main pillar of the kind of sustainability research WISA will be exploring. Everything from e-planes, to aerodynamics, to using applied mathematics to optimize routes, all contribute to lowering emissions.”

UWaterloo says WISA will use research from people working at all of its 50 faculties as it attempts to make air travel sustainable. It will be guided by an advisory committee that includes astronaut Chris Hatfield, who was the first Canadian to walk in space.

“Interdisciplinary collaboration and industry partnerships form the foundation of work that will bring WISA’s innovations to an industry playing catch-up following the COVID-19 pandemic, and looking for sustainable practices,” Kearns said.

The school says that Kearns, who has been a pilot since the age of 16, developed the program while working as an associate professor in its aviation program, and by forming a partnership with the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization on the development of an affordable fundamentals of aviation certificate that was focused on making education accessible in poorer countries.

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