British multinational giant GKN Aerospace has announced the launch of three new sustainable aviation technology programmes.

The collaborative programmes are Skybus, Safe Flight and NAPKIN, and have been unveiled as part of the Future Flight Challenge.

It is a four-year, £125m UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) programme.

GKN Aerospace will lead the CO₂-reducing technology programmes, along with 15 collaborators with an initial investment of £4.5m. The company will deliver them from its new £32m Global Technology Centre in Bristol, UK.

Skybus focuses on the use of large electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles that can carry between 30 and 50 passengers.

It will be led by the company, along with Swanson Aviation Consultancy, Pascall+Watson, and Connected Places Catapult as partners.

Safe Flight aims to safely integrate autonomous systems in shared airspace, and NAPKIN will work on designing and testing a zero-emission domestic sustainable aviation network prototype across the UK.

The University of Bath, 3UG Autonomous Systems, and Callen-Lenz are the collaborators for the Safe Flight programme.

Heathrow Airport will lead NAPKIN in partnership with GKN Aerospace, University of Southampton, University College London and Cranfield University, Rolls Royce, Highlands & Islands Airports, Deloitte, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, and London City Airport.

GKN Aerospace technology VP Max Brown said: “We are committed to a more sustainable future for aviation and our technologies will keep us at the forefront of this challenge. No one company can achieve this alone and these Future Flight Challenge programmes highlight the importance of collaboration in achieving this aim.

“It is a great example of public-private collaboration, as well as the importance of government in supporting the aerospace industry through its industrial strategy. We look forward to working together to deliver the next generation of sustainable air travel.”

In May last year, GKN Aerospace and aircraft manufacturer Eviation signed a collaboration agreement for Alice electric aircraft.