Air Traffic Management Efficiency = Environmental Responsibility

(GENEVA) The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for improvements in air traffic management to further improve aviation’s good environmental performance in a speech delivered to a Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) conference in Maastricht, The Netherlands.

“Every minute of flying-time that we can save, reduces fuel consumption by an average of 62 litres and CO2 emissions by 160 kilogrammes. Governments are quick to make vacations more expensive with new taxes in the name of the environment. But they are slow to improve the infrastructure. It’s about time they realised what a difference a minute can make,” said IATA Director General and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that there is 12% inefficiency in air traffic management globally. That means up to 73 million tonnes of wasted CO2 emissions and nearly US$13.5 billion in wasted costs,” said Bisignani.

“IATA’s work to optimise 350 routes in 2006 yielded 6 million tonnes of CO2 savings. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. We see issues in all continents. The approach to Hong Kong is up to 25 minutes longer than it needs to be. Flying from Sao Paolo to Lima is 9 minutes too long. Johannesburg to London is 10 minutes too long. And flying to Manila from Japan has 5 unneeded minutes. Optimising routes should not be a battle. It’s a win-win situation for the passenger and for the environment,” said Bisignani.

Bisignani also took aim at the cost to the environment of Europe’s failure to implement a Single European Sky. “This is Europe’s biggest embarrassment. Europe has one major currency, but 34 providers of air navigation services. This costs the airlines EUR3.3 billion a year. And it costs the environment 12 million tonnes of CO2. The time for excuses is over. The technical solutions exist. It is simply a matter of political will,” said Bisignani.

A Single European Sky would also help reduce the 18 million minutes of delays that European air travellers experienced in 2006. “That is the equivalent of having 35 aircraft being completely unproductive over the course of the year. With passenger growth in Europe above forecast levels, urgent attention to infrastructure capacity is critical,” said Bisignani.

Bisignani’s comments came in a speech addressing key priorities for next generation air traffic management systems.