The International Air Transport Association has challenged
governments to ‘put aside politics and join industry in delivering real
results to further improve air transport’s good environmental
performance’.The challenge was delivered by IATA’s Director General and
CEO, Giovanni Bisignani at the World Air Transport Forum in Cannes,
which is focused on sustainable development.
“Airlines are leading the debate on environment with a vision to become
carbon neutral in the medium-term and zero carbon emissions in the long
term. We are setting the benchmark on environmental performance for
other industries to follow,” said Bisignani.
IATA’s 240 member airlines agreed a four-pillar strategy on climate
1. Invest in new technology
2. Build and use efficient infrastructure
3. Operate planes effectively and
4. Consider positive economic measures while working with governments to
define an emissions trading scheme that is fair, global and voluntary.
“The strategy is not just words. We have delivered real results,” said
Bisignani. In 2006, IATA’s fuel campaign saved six million tonnes of CO2
by shortening 350 routes; eight million tonnes of CO2 by working with
airlines on best practice in fuel management; and one million tonnes of
CO2 through better operational procedures.
“We cannot do it all on our own - governments must be involved,” said
Bisignani. All 179 states attending the recent triennial Assembly of the
International Civil Aviation Organization endorsed the IATA four-pillar
strategy, including a target to improve fuel efficiency 25% by 2020.
“Our biggest disappointment was with the European States. They are
taking a completely political and totally irresponsible approach by
unilaterally pursuing emissions trading rather than taking a global
approach. This will cause diplomatic trade battles, but will do nothing
for the environment,” said Bisignani.
Specifically, Bisignani criticised Europe for the 12 million tonnes of
CO2 wasted each year from the inefficiency of its air traffic management
system, comprising 34 air navigation service providers. “Europe has been
discussing a Single European Sky for 15 years, wasting a lot of hot air
in discussions, with no action. On the environment it is acting like a
hypocrite: charging for airline emissions without fixing the mess in its
own air traffic management.”