(Vancouver) The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as the host of the G-8 Summit, to save 12 million tonnes of unnecessary CO2 annually by making a political commitment to deliver a Single European Sky (SES) within five years.

“The single most important step that we could take today to reduce aircraft emissions is to turn the dream of a SES into reality within five years. This would be real environmental progress—an example for your G-8 partners to follow,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO, in a letter addressed to the Chancellor.

Bisignani’s letter followed the conclusion of the Association’s Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Vancouver, Canada, at which environment issues took centre stage. Bisignani reminded the Chancellor of the air transport industry’s commitment to limit the 2% of carbon emissions attributed to it with investments in new aircraft. By 2020, the global fleet will improve fuel efficiency 25%.

Bisignani outlined a vision for a carbon-free industry, “Air transport must become an industry that does not pollute—zero emissions, but we can only achieve that if politicians replace empty promises on the environment with real results. Too often the actions of governments are inconsistent and irresponsible. A SES could save up to 12 million tonnes of CO2, but instead of action, we have a European circus—fifteen years of talks, talks, and nothing but talks. It’s time for some real results.”

“Too often politicians think green and see cash. Any progress on a European emissions trading scheme must be linked to making SES a reality,” said Bisignani.

A Single European Sky would effectively unite Europe’s 35 air navigation service providers into one. The resulting efficiency gains—reduction in delays and more effective routings—would lead to a 12 million tonne annual reduction in the CO2 produced by airlines flying in Europe’s skies.