(Geneva) - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has obtained China’s approval to implement a new route for international traffic which reduces flight times between China and Europe by an average of 30 minutes. Officially known as Y-1, it is often referred to as IATA-1, reflecting IATA’s role in achieving this in cooperation with the Chinese Government. Initially 110 flights a week could potentially benefit from IATA-1.

An inauguration ceremony was held in Beijing today with the route expected to open for commercial traffic from 13 April 2006, following discussions dating back to 2000. Y-1, combined with Y-2 provides airlines with more route options when flying between Asia and Europe, allowing airlines to better optimise routings.

“IATA-1 will result in US$30 million in savings on the airlines fuel bill. We appreciate the cooperation of the Chinese Government in making airspace more efficient at a time where the airline industry is bleeding red ink from the record high price of oil,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

IATA-1 will have a significant impact on the environment. The more direct routing will eliminate 2,860 hours of flight time, 27,000 tonnes of fuel consumption, 84,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission, and 340,000 kilogrammes of nitrogen oxides emission annually.

“Airlines take their commitment to the environment seriously. While supporting 8% of global economic activity, air transport is responsible for 3.5% of global greenhouse emissions. This is a good record, but we are determined to do more. Fuel efficiency, direct routings and new technology are all part of efforts that have realised a 70% reduction in aircraft emissions over the last 30 years. IATA-1 is a great example of how cooperation of industry and government is a winning solution for all,” said Bisignani

“The new routes further demonstrate the Chinese government’s clear understanding of the benefits of a successful air transport sector. We have seen effective policy co-ordination in China – liberalisation, consolidation of the carriers, and impressive infrastructure investment. And now China has demonstrated its commitment to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Minister Yang Yuan Yuan and his team must be complimented for these achievements. I urge all governments, airports and air navigation service providers to take similar steps,” said Bisignani.

Notes to editors:

  • Currently only 30% of Chinese airspace is available for civil aviation. This has resulted in a shortage of international air routes over China, as well as a restrictive flight planning policy when airlines plan their flight path. The insufficient airspace allocated for civil aviation has also resulted in air traffic delays at cities in the golden triangle, which is bounded by Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
  • View the IATA-1 Route Map (PDF)
  • IATA-1 is an alternative to L888 which is currently comprised of a few flights between Asia and Europe. As L888 is just north of the Himalaya Mountains, airlines using this route need to be specially retrofitted for the high terrain with additional oxygen equipment. Y2 together with Y1 (IATA-1) do not require similar special equipment.
  • IATA, Airports Council International (ACI) and the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) and others will host the second annual Aviation and the Environment Summit in Geneva on 25-26 April. The Summit brings together all stakeholders in the air transport industry—including governments—to ensure a common and effective approach to aviation and environment issues. More information on the Summit can be obtained at www.enviro.aero.