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Press Release No.: 33

Date: 28 September 2007

Governments Endorse Global Strategy for Aviation and Climate Change - Europe Out-of-touch on Emissions Trading

Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) applauded the comprehensive strategy for aviation and climate change agreed at the Triennial Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), subject to confirmation by today’s Plenary. At the same time, IATA expressed deep disappointment in Europe’s failure to accept a global approach to emissions trading, based on mutual consent.

ICAO strategy reflects IATA’s approach. “All 190 ICAO contracting states have re-affirmed ICAO’s leadership on aviation and environment by endorsing a comprehensive strategy on climate change, and embraced IATA’s 25% goal to improve fuel efficiency by 2020,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO. “We are encouraged by governments’ support for IATA’s four pillar approach as the way forward—invest in new technology; build and use efficient infrastructure; operate aircraft effectively; and once we have made solid progress on these three, we can look with governments at economic measures,” said Bisignani.

Europe’s go it alone approach on emissions trading is counterproductive. While European States agreed with IATA’s four pillar strategy, they have reserved their support for the ICAO resolution requiring mutual consent for implementation of emissions trading schemes. “Europe’s unilateral approach to emissions trading confuses taking leadership with taking cash. It is disappointing and irresponsible. Regional schemes will have, at best, limited impact on the environment. And their unilateral application to foreign airlines is a clear breach of the Chicago Convention. The resulting trade and legal battles will distract governments from making real progress,” said Bisignani. 

Emissions trading alone is not the solution. “While the political focus has been on economic measures, let’s be clear that emissions trading alone is not a solution for tackling climate change. CO2 emissions are directly related to fuel consumption. With the fuel bill at 28% of airline operating costs, this industry is already the most highly incentivised to improve its environmental performance within the limits of technology,” said Bisignani.

It’s time for a Single European Sky. “While Europe rushes ahead with emissions trading, its track record on operational progress that could improve industry environmental performance is almost tragic. After 15 years of talks and no results on a Single European Sky, the potential 12 million tonnes of CO2 savings remain like a pie in the sky - far from reality.  Cleaning up Europe’s own backyard is an essential first step towards credible leadership on environmental issues. Fortunately, the industry isn’t waiting for the politicians - European or otherwise. Airlines are moving forward and delivering real results on top of a good track record,” said Bisignani.

Technology is key. “IATA’s 240 member airlines are committed to improving environmental performance. And we are challenging governments to go even further, targeting carbon-neutral growth in the medium-term, and the development of carbon-free technology within the next 50 years. In terms of an industry response to climate change, it does not get any better than that. No other industry has matched this ambitious goal,” said Bisignani.

IATA’s proactive strategy.  IATA is working with its member airlines to deliver impressive results with a proactive strategy for fuel efficiency. Working with governments and airlines to optimise routes, spread best practices in fuel management and improve operations saved up to 15 million tonnes of CO2 in 2006 - real progress for the environment,” said Bisignani.

IATA’s pledge. IATA committed to work with ICAO and its member states on a work plan between now and the next Assembly. “Although aviation is a small part of the big problem of climate change, we take our responsibility to reduce emissions seriously. We are committed to working with ICAO on all aspects of a comprehensive and global approach. IATA has a clear vision, the industry supports that vision and now governments must climb on board too,” said Bisignani.

For more information, please contact:

Corporate Communications
+41 22 770 2967
corpcomms@iata.org

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