(Geneva) "The focus on air transport related issues at this year's G8 Summit underlines aviation's importance to the global economy," said Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The G8 Summit discussed civil aviation issues in connection with development, climate change and security. "The challenge is to achieve the G8's goals while building on civil aviation's valuable contribution of 4.5% of global GDP," said Bisignani.

Specifically, IATA welcomed:

  1. The G8's commitment to a standardised and coordinated approach to security centered on ICAO, with frequent consultation of private sector stakeholders, including IATA.
  2. The G8's approach to air transport and climate change which focuses on improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions through operational enhancements—including for air traffic control and ground operations.

IATA, however, remains strongly opposed to any levy to finance development projects that singles out air transport or air travellers.

Security: "Harmonisation is critical for a secure international aviation network. Working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), IATA has made aviation the safest mode of transport. The same principles apply to security—provided that States are committed to a coordinated approach. The G8's Secure and Facilitated International Travel Initiative is pointing us in the right direction," said Bisignani.

Climate Change: "The G8 outlined a commonsense approach for aviation and climate change focused on efficiency. Worldwide, airlines could reduce their fuel consumption by up to 18% with optimised air traffic control. The result would save millions of tonnes of unnecessary CO2 emissions each year. If world leaders are serious about the environment, one of the first priorities on the political agenda should be to make an effective Single European Sky a reality by reducing the number of providers. There is no reason why a Europe that can agree on one major currency needs 35 providers of air navigation control services," said Bisignani.

Development: "Aviation plays a critical role in development. It is disappointing that some of the G8 leaders continue to believe that making air travel more expensive will benefit developing nations. A 10% increase in air traffic boosts GDP by 1.6%. And a 10% improvement in connectivity (new destinations or increased frequencies) supports a 3.7% increase in GDP. It is important that we do not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs with excessive taxation. We need to focus on improving the aviation infrastructure in the developing world—including Africa—so that it can be a catalyst for development," said Bisignani.

Effective follow-up: "The G8 identified three vital areas for air transport. Governments' delivery on their promises is the critical next step. The air transport industry has worked hard to ensure that it is a safe, secure and environmentally responsible industry that provides significant social and economic benefits. With a strong commitment from the G8, there is much more that can be accomplished," said Bisignani.

Notes for Editors

As a general principle, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) urges states to refrain from imposing taxes or charges on aviation that are not related to civil aviation operations. This is noted in ICAO Doc 9082/6 ICAO Policies on Charges for Airports and Air Navigation Services which states that:

  • "Paragraph 8) The Council recommends that States:
  • i) Permit the imposition of charges only for services and functions that are provided for, directly related to, or ultimately beneficial for civil aviation operations.
  • ii) Refrain from imposing charges that discriminate against international civil aviation in relation to other modes of international transport.
  • Paragraph 9) In this regard, the Council is concerned over the proliferation of charges on air traffic and notes that the imposition of charges in one jurisdiction can lead to the introduction of charges in another jurisdiction."

IATA's opposition to the taxation of aviation to support development is clearly noted in Development and Air Transport, authored by its Director General and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani. The piece was first published in the Wall Street Journal Europe on 1 July, 2005.