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Reduced Emissions of TRansport aircraft Operations by Fleetwise Implementation of new Technology

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€270 381
EU Contribution
€266 363
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Deployment planning/Financing/Market roll-out,
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS
Background & Policy context

RETROFIT analysed the possibilities and attractiveness to retrofit the large existing fleet of commercial airliners with new technical solutions. A new generation of airliners is on the horizon. Existing aircraft still have a long life to serve. But the operational environment is changing. Airlines are confronted with emission trading limits, new noise rules, increasing fuel prices and new safety and security demands. Aircraft need to operate in a new ATM environment where older aircraft cannot comply with the new ATM standards. Furthermore, the passengers expect to enjoy the highest levels of comfort possible.


The project addressed the stakeholder requirements first. Based on that, it investigated current and future technology options to retrofit existing aircraft. The need to perform additional research to make retrofits attractive were addressed, as well as the question if specific research activities should be integrated in the Framework Programmes. The issue of design for retrofit were addressed. Special attention was given to certification as modified aircraft should be accepted as derivatives of existing types in order to keep certification time and costs as low as possible.


A cost benefit analysis was made, based on existing airline fleets and potential applications of new technical solutions. It resulted in an assessment which airplanes can be retrofitted with what new technologies.

Furthermore, an assessment was made about funding mechanisms for promising business cases. The results of the project were widely disseminated. Promising cases led to a substantial economic activity in many European countries.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
The European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)
Specific funding programme


The following key results regarding new technologies for existing airplanes have been identified:

Following a workshop with stakeholders, researchers developed an inventory of candidate present and future technologies compatible with retrofit. These were then evaluated in light of certification to determine if proposed changes are feasible or if certification becomes a bottleneck to implementation. Three promising mature retrofit technologies were subjected to a cost-benefit analysis.

The first technologies comprised avionics designed for compatibility with technology and operational guidelines developed by the ambitious 'Single European Sky ATM research' (SESAR) project to meet future capacity and air safety needs. Scientists also evaluated new high bypass-ratio engines for existing A320 aircraft and technology for taxiing by internal power.

Retrofit results to date have led to numerous recommendations, among them specific issues to be addressed by EU-funded research programmes:

  • First, any project to develop technology for new aircraft should include a work package addressing the potential for retrofitting.
  • Second, the European Commission should stimulate research on virtual testing and encourage virtual certification to decrease the time and cost of certification of aircraft retrofitted with new technology.
  • Finally, specific retrofit topics should be encouraged by including feasibility studies, maturing technologies and integration of retrofit technologies in the next call of the research and technology development (RTD) Framework Programme.

Technical Implications

Retrofit is expected to enhance the uptake of new and beneficial technologies in existing aircraft by focusing on those compatible with retrofit of the existing European commercial fleet. Such action will have important benefits for the airline industry, consumers and the environment.

Strategy targets

  • Innovating for the future: technology and behaviour.
  • Promoting more sustainable development. 


Lead Organisation
Fokker Services Bv
Lucas Bolsstraat 7, 2152CZ Nieuw-Vennep, Netherlands
EU Contribution
€117 437
Partner Organisations
L - Up Sas
Avenue De Friedland 32, 75008 Paris, France
EU Contribution
€22 116
Aircraft Development And Systems Engineering (Adse) B.v.
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€8 762
Stichting Centrum Voor De Ontwikkeling Van Transport En Logistiek In Europa
Van Nelleweg 1, 3044 BC Rotterdam, Netherlands
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€50 393
Ad Cuenta Bv
Zuster Gerarduslaan 34, 2632 DS Nootdorp, Netherlands
EU Contribution
€34 614
Paragon Anonymh Etaireia Meleton Erevnas Kai Emporiou Proigmenhs Texnologias
Protopapadaki Str, 11147 Galatsi, Greece
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€33 041


Technology Theme
Aircraft design and manufacturing
Retrofit technologies for in-service aircraft
Development phase

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