TOKYO - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) delivered two leadership challenges to Japan: (1) to make the privatisation of Japan’s airports an example of global best practice and (2) to champion efforts towards a zero carbon emission industry at the upcoming G-8 Summit to be held in Japan.

Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO raised the challenges in a keynote speech hosted by the international business community in Japan.

Airport Privatisation

Amid the debate in Japan on caps for foreign ownership of Japan’s privatised airport assets, Bisignani said, “I don’t care who owns the airport. That is for politicians to decide. For the economy, an airport is important for what it delivers.”

Bisignani noted that airport performance is measured in three key areas. “Airports must deliver adequate capacity to ensure that markets are well served. They must ensure service levels that meet customer expectations. And they must do that at prices that reflect efficiency. It is not rocket science. It is just good business,” said Bisignani.

“Providing the right incentives is the most critical part of the privatisation process. We have seen too many privatisations fail because governments sold the crown jewels without appropriate guidance and incentives for the new owners. Effective and transparent economic regulation is in the interest of everybody, including the potential new owners. They will want to clearly understand what they are buying and what the expectations are. I look forward to working with the MLIT and the airports to ensure that the world’s largest airport privatisation to date will also be the most successful,” said Bisignani.


Aviation is 2% of global carbon emissions. IATA has aligned the industry with a four pillar strategy to address climate change: (1) invest in new technology, (2) fly planes effectively, (3) build and operate efficient infrastructure and (4) call for positive economic incentives to encourage improved fuel efficiency and a reduction in CO2 emissions. This strategy, along with a target to improve fuel efficiency 25% by 2020, was endorsed by the States of the International Civil Aviation Organization at their Assembly in September 2007.

“Now it is time for results,” said Bisignani. “Japan’s plans to implement performance based navigation systems at its top 20 airports by 2012 will reduce fuel burn by 2% and save 162,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. This is a great example of our strategy at work.”

In June 2007, IATA put forward a vision for air transport to achieve carbon neutral growth, leading to a zero carbon emission industry. “As the host of this year’s G-8 Summit, Japan must take a leadership role in the climate change debate. I encourage the Japanese government to push the G-8 leaders to aim high and build the political will to achieve a zero emission industry. We went from the Wright Brothers to the jet age in 50 years. If government and industry are aligned, I am convinced that together we can turn dreams into reality,” said Bisignani.

Notes for editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 240 airlines comprising 94% of scheduled international air traffic.
  • The luncheon was jointly hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, the European Business Council and the Australia/New Zeeland Chamber of Commerce in Japan.