Safety is our number one priority. 2003 was among the industry's best years for safety. Our partnership with ICAO reduced the global hull loss rate by forty percent compared to the ten-year average. IATA is determined to achieve further improvements. At the forefront of our efforts is the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) programme.
IOSA complements ICAO's Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program (USOAP) and will provide for a significant improvement in airline safety. Many states are actively supporting IOSA, recognising the safety benefits it provides.
We ask for the Assembly's support of IOSA as a valuable international effort to enhance safety.
At Air Transport Conference, states agreed to step liberalisation through regulatory change. I congratulate ICAO member states and Dr. Kotaite for giving us a clear vision of a liberalised industry. We are disappointed that there are no relevant changes to national legislation. The pace of liberalisation can vary, but it has to start somewhere.
There is no excuse for the great opportunity that was lost with the failure of the US/EU talks on an open aviation area. ICAO member States must urgently move forward with the AT Conference recommendations.
As the industry grows, environment issues take on greater importance. The industry has set a good example. New processes and new technology are bringing environmental benefits. Modern aircraft have fuel efficiencies of 3.5 litres per 100 passenger kilometers. This is the same as a modern compact passenger car but with 6 times the speed. Air transport's contribution to the global economy cannot be denied.
Further solutions, which will have positive environmental impact, are being developed. States should refrain from inefficient methods to reduce environmental impact such as fuel taxes and emission levies. We appreciate ICAO's role as the leading global body for aviation environment.
We will continue to contribute to its work.
ICAO's role in our industry has never been more relevant. Similarly, our partnership has never been more important or more effective. Speed is critical for solving present aviation problems. We rely on the continued strong leadership of ICAO and its member states to move forward with the issues we raise at this Assembly.
I wish you all a very successful Assembly.