As our five-year partnership begins, we spoke to Kate McKinley at the 2023 Royal International Air Tattoo to ask her about RIAT’s ambitions to move towards a more sustainable event. Kate is RIAT’s People & Sustainability Director, she leads the company's sustainability priorities, centred on the commitment to introducing ISO 20121 Sustainable Event Management System.

Tell us about the Royal International Air Tattoo’s sustainability ambitions.

Being responsible in the way that we work and operate is essential for everyone. For our team at the Royal International Air Tattoo, we are still at the beginning of our sustainability work having started last year. We know we have a long way to go, and we are committed to making our event as positive and the best we can. For us, sustainability means an enduring balance of environmental responsibility, economic activity, and social progress.

It is more than just recycling the rubbish, although that is important, sustainability touches all areas of the event. The areas we are currently focused on are:

  • The catering offer for our visitors and workforce, including the 1,300 volunteers who are essential to our success
  • Reducing our waste
  • Increasing the number of places on visitor shuttle buses
  • Reducing our reliance on generators and ensuring those we have run on hydro-treated vegetable oil
  • Offering free drinking water to all

We are working with all of our partners to showcase their work in support of sustainable aviation, and year on year we have increasing examples of equipment and initiatives that are part of a more sustainable future for aviation.

What are your plans for the future of the air show as sustainability becomes more imperative?

We are committed to making our event as positive and the best we can and want to celebrate and share information about our handprint. This is the positive contribution made by the event, which includes inspiring young people to pursue STEM subjects, showcasing the work of our partners to tackle the challenge of climate change.

To ensure that we make real lasting changes, we are using the International Sustainable Event Management System (ISO 20121) as a framework. The system challenges us to make continual improvements in all areas of sustainability and show leadership in our industry. Earlier this year we were audited by the British Standards Institute against ISO 20121 and our management system has been certified to the standard.

What part does the partnership with Hybrid Air Vehicles play in this?

We have been working on a vision of what RIAT could look like in the future and believe that there is an opportunity to showcase sustainable defence and civil aviation to the public, to future engineers, to enthusiasts and to guests at RIAT.  We are excited to be able to bring HAV’s commitment to delivering an aircraft that will reduce emissions by up to 90% within five years to our showground, and in time to the skies around Fairford. A huge part of inspiring young people to be part of the solutions needed is for them to meet and talk to those who are engaged in this key work. RIAT offers a unique opportunity for organisations like HAV to meet the public and share the initiatives they are working on.

We are looking forward to the further development of our partnership with RIAT and seeing Airlander flying at the Royal International Air Tattoo 2027. Read more about our newly announced partnership here.

Take me back to news

News and Media

Be part of the journey

Airlander Newsletter