Cannes - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 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 change:
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.”