Rolls-Royce CTO Grazia Vittadini on the future of aviation

Grazia Vittadini wants to reinvent flying. In doing so, it relies on new technologies, sustainable drive types and green fuels. Vittadini has been head of technology and strategy at Rolls-Royce, which produces engines for civil and military aviation, among other things, for about a year.

The first aircraft she worked on around 20 years ago was the Eurofighter. In 2002, the Italian began her career at Airbus in Hamburg, 15 years later rose to become head of Airbus “Defense and Space” in France, became a member of the board and in 2018 head of technology for the entire group.

Defense in aviation has occupied Vittadini all her life – even as a girl she wanted to be a fighter jet pilot. As a young woman, she applied to the Italian Air Force, but was turned down because there were no female pilots there. “If I’m not allowed to fly airplanes, then I’ll just build them,” she said at the time.

Tech reporter Larissa Holzki and Vittadini talk today at Handelsblatt Disrupt about their career path to the top of one of the world’s largest engine manufacturers, geopolitical tensions in times of energy and climate crises and the reinvention of aviation.

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