IATA: Better traffic control helps environment

The International Air Transport Association has called for
improvements in air traffic management to further improve aviation’s
good environmental performance in a speech delivered to a Civil Air
Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) conference in Maastricht, The
Netherlands. “Every minute of flying-time that we can save, reduces fuel consumption
by an average of 62 litres and CO2 emissions by 160 kilogrammes.
Governments are quick to make vacations more expensive with new taxes in
the name of the environment. But they are slow to improve the
infrastructure. It’s about time they realised what a difference a minute
can make,” said IATA Director General and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani. 

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that
there is 12% inefficiency in air traffic management globally. That means
up to 73 million tonnes of wasted CO2 emissions and nearly US$13.5
billion in wasted costs,” said Bisignani.

“IATA’s work to optimise 350 routes in 2006 yielded 6 million tonnes of
CO2 savings. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. We see issues in
all continents. The approach to Hong Kong is up to 25 minutes longer
than it needs to be. Flying from Sao Paolo to Lima is 9 minutes too
long. Johannesburg to London is 10 minutes too long. And flying to
Manila from Japan has 5 unneeded minutes. Optimising routes should not
be a battle. It’s a win-win situation for the passenger and for the
environment,” said Bisignani.

Bisignani also took aim at the cost to the environment of Europe’s
failure to implement a Single European Sky. “This is Europe’s biggest
embarrassment. Europe has one major currency, but 34 providers of air
navigation services. This costs the airlines EUR3.3 billion a year. And
it costs the environment 12 million tonnes of CO2. The time for excuses
is over. The technical solutions exist. It is simply a matter of
political will,” said Bisignani.

A Single European Sky would also help reduce the 18 million minutes of
delays that European air travellers experienced in 2006. “That is the
equivalent of having 35 aircraft being completely unproductive over the
course of the year. With passenger growth in Europe above forecast
levels, urgent attention to infrastructure capacity is critical,” said