Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed high expectations for the decisions that states will make at the 38th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

“Climate change will be at the top of the Assembly’s agenda. We will be looking to states to make decisions that will enable the industry to meet its ambitious commitment to stabilizing its emissions from 2020 via carbon-neutral growth (CNG2020). It is important that governments keep firmly focused on reaching agreement on a global solution. Environment is a global challenge. Aviation is a global industry. And we need a global way forward. National or regional schemes are politically charged distractions. We must not allow such discussions to get in the way of important progress that needs to be made,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Governments and industry share a target for aviation to achieve CNG2020. There is also a common understanding that this will be accomplished through a four-pillar strategy of improved technology, more efficient infrastructure, and better operations. The fourth pillar, market based measures (MBMs), will also be needed to fill the gap until the other elements of the strategy achieve their full potential.

While all four pillars of the strategy are important, finding a global approach to market based measures is expected to continue to be the main focus of discussion among governments.

At IATA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in June, its member airlines overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on governments to agree to a mandatory global carbon offset scheme as the single MBM to be applied worldwide. This has been reflected in a united working paper presented to the Assembly by the Airports Council International (ACI), the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), the International Coordinating Committee of Aerospace Industry Associations (ICCAIA), the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and IATA.

These five organizations urge the Assembly to

  • Agree a roadmap for development of a single global MBM for aviation to be implemented from 2020 that can be adopted at the next ICAO Assembly in 2016.
  • Agree the principles for development of a global MBM, including the goal of CNG2020; that aviation emissions should only be accounted for once; that a global MBM should take account of the different operating circumstances of operators around the world.
  • Ask ICAO to develop, in the meantime, several milestones that could help build the foundation for a single global MBM, including an ICAO standard for monitoring, reporting and verifying emissions from aviation; and a mechanism to define the quality of verified offset types that could be used in a global MBM for aviation.

Passenger Rights and Consumer Protection

The industry is also keen to see governments endorse a globally coordinated approach to consumer protection. IATA submitted a passenger rights working paper calling on governments to agree a set of high level core principles on consumer protection to combat the proliferation of uncoordinated national and regional passenger rights regimes. Taking into consideration the consequences to the consumer of such regulatory fragmentation, the Sixth Worldwide Air Transport Conference urged the development of core principles for consumer protection. IATA’s 2013 AGM unanimously approved a resolution outlining such core principles. IATA is asking the Assembly to utilize these principles as ICAO seeks to develop a common approach among governments and to urge states to incorporate the IATA resolution’s principles into existing and future passenger rights regimes.

In a related working paper, IATA encouraged states to adopt the Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99). While MC99 established a modern, fair and effective regime to govern liability to passengers and shippers on international flights, to date only 103 ICAO Member States (54%) are parties to it. Universal acceptance of MC99 will mean that governments can truly ensure that a modern and fair liability regime would apply to passenger and cargo claims, whatever the route or destination involved. Likewise, since MC99 facilitates the use of the electronic Air Waybill (E-AWB), universal acceptance means governments can be sure their industry stakeholders that rely on air cargo connectivity can avail themselves of faster shipment times, and lower costs on a global scale.

A Full Agenda

In addition to addressing the topics of climate change and passenger rights, the industry has submitted six other working papers on a broad range of topics.

  • Enhanced IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA): Safety is the top priority for both industry and governments. IOSA is a tool for airlines to assess conformity with global best practices in safety management including conformity to ICAO standards. Since IOSA became a condition for IATA membership, a clear trend has developed. IOSA registered airlines have a consistently better safety performance than airlines that have not gone through the audit process. The audit is being made even more robust with the progressive introduction of an Enhanced-IOSA program which includes continuous conformity measures through self-auditing by airlines. IATA is asking states to recognize and support the success of the Enhanced-IOSA program.
  • Passenger Data and Border Control: A growing number of States are requesting that airlines transmit passenger data such as Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) electronically for the purposes of border control and security. Often, these requests do not follow the standards and guidelines established by ICAO and the World Customs Organization. Non-standard requirements affect not only States, but also airline operations and the travel experience of passengers. IATA is asking ICAO to raise awareness of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices on passenger data and to enhance measures to increase compliance.
  • Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS): GNSS is a key technology of communications, navigation and surveillance infrastructure. The GNSS systems that are in use today are GPS (USA) and GLONASS (Russia). New systems being introduced for aviation include Galileo (Europe) and Beidou (China). The industry supports and encourages the implementation of GNSS in a globally harmonized and cost effective manner. In its working paper, IATA is asking the Assembly to instruct States to allow international operators to use any GNSS means available, provided that the required performance is met, instead of mandating a particular system with the associated complexities and costs for airspace users. This will help ensure the industry realizes the benefits of modern Air Traffic Management technology using equipment on board the aircraft today.
  • Operations: There has been an increase in the documentation required by States to authorize operations by airlines that are registered in other States. To comply with these procedures airlines need to submit multiple documents that have no relevance to flight safety. And managing such documentation comes with costs and an administrative burden. IATA is asking states to adhere to standardized content and format for the issuance of Air Operators’ Certificates (AOCs) and associated operations specifications. And it is asking states to recognize as valid AOCs and associated operations specifications by other states so long as they comply with Annex 6 of the Chicago Convention.

    In a related working paper, IATA urges all states to join the ICAO electronic AOC Registry which will reduce or eliminate the need for burdensome paperwork which adds nothing to flight safety.
  • Noise: IATA supports the recommendation by the ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) that States should refrain from imposing operating restrictions on aircraft that comply with the current noise certification standard (Annex 16, Volume I, Chapter 4 and/or 14) or introducing measures that would lead to the phase-out of aircraft that are in compliance with existing noise standards.
  • Training: IATA is also urging states to comply with an internationally agreed standard for approval of flight simulators. Such compliance would reduce millions of dollars of cost to the airline industry without any compromise in flight safety.

The ICAO Assembly is a triennial event that opens on 24 September 2013 in Montreal with delegates from ICAO’s 191 member states deliberating on some of the global air transport industry’s most pressing issues until the Assembly closes on 4 October.

Assembly events and outcomes can be followed on the ICAO website or on Twitter using the hash tag #ICAO_A38.

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Notes for Editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 240 airlines comprising 84% of global air traffic.