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Press Release No.: 31

Date: 18 June 2008

Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) congratulated Antonio Tajani on his confirmation as Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transport.

“Vice President Tajani has picked the right priorities, starting with delivering a Single European Sky (SES),” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “We’ve been talking about a SES for decades. Now is the time to make it a reality. An effective SES would help alleviate two critical issues related to fuel burn. First, with oil in the US$135 a barrel (Brent) range, the industry fuel bill will balloon to over US$176 billion this year. Already we have seen 24 airlines go bust and thousands of layoffs. An effective SES would shave EUR5.5 billion off the fuel bill with more efficient air traffic management. And it would reduce carbon emissions from airlines by as much as 12 million tonnes. I am confident that Vice President Tajani will deliver the political will to turn the technical solutions into reality,” said Bisignani.

Bisignani also encouraged Vice President Tajani to weigh-in on Europe’s misguided debate on bringing aviation into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). “First, the timing is wrong. Bringing aviation into Europe’s ETS was conceived when oil was at US$60 a barrel. Today, with the price more than doubled, it’s a completely different world. If oil stays at the current price level for the next 12 months, airlines will face US$99 billion in extra fuel costs. Airlines have the biggest incentive of any industry to improve environmental performance. With jobs disappearing from the industry already, I hope that Vice President Tajani will bring a strong message that this is not the time for reckless decisions that could put more jobs at risk,” said Bisignani.

Bisignani emphasised the illegal nature of Europe’s unilateral approach. “All this effort at a time of crisis for something that is illegal makes no sense. Countries in the developed and developing world are opposed to Europe’s unilateral approach - and rightly so. What right does Europe have to charge non-European carriers for emissions outside European territory? I encourage Vice President Tajani to bring a strong reality check to his Commission colleagues: the best thing that Europe can do to tackle the important issue of aviation and the environment is to facilitate a global solution through the International Civil Aviation Organization - a UN body with a proven track record of promoting global standards,” said Bisignani.

Bisignani noted that the aviation industry takes responsibility for its 2% of global carbon emissions seriously. “Our vision to achieve carbon neutral growth sets the benchmark for other industries to follow. And our four-pillar strategy based on technology, operations, infrastructure and positive economic measures is delivering results. Last year IATA’s efforts delivered 10.5 million tonnes of CO2 savings. If Vice President Tajani is successful with SES, we will deliver much more,” said Bisignani.


Notes for editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 230 airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic.

For more information, please contact:

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

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