“Environment remains a top priority, even in the middle of the current crisis hitting the air transport industry,” said Giovanni Bisignani, the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) director general and CEO. “Interests are aligned. Saving fuel improves environmental performance. And, in this crisis, every drop of fuel saved helps the bottom line.”
Bisignani noted that while the industry
is delivering significant improvements to address its 2 percent
contribution to global CO2 emissions, governments could do much more to
facilitate even better results. “Governments think green and see cash," he said.
"So we get tax after tax, conceived in the name of the environment,
which rob the industry of the cash to invest in technology. And there
is no guarantee that any of the funds collected will be invested in
environment-related projects. Examples include the Dutch departure tax
or Europe’s plan to bring aviation into its regional emissions trading
scheme that will distort markets and create an international legal
According to Bisignani, the IATA aims to achieve carbon-neutral growth by shortening routes, sharing best practices in fuel management and improving air navigation contributed to enormous CO2 savings. Between 2004 and 2007 IATA saved 44.5 million tons of CO2 emissions, equal to $7.7 billion in fuel costs. Already this year, the Association has identified and saved a further 13.5 million tons of CO2 equal to $4.6 billion.
“Positive economic measures are one pillar of our strategy - provided they are globally coordinated, fair and voluntary," Bisignani said. "The focus must be a global solution coordinated through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). That’s what the drafter of Kyoto envisaged.
“This stand is a reminder of the potential for technical and operational achievements. The ‘to do’ list for governments is long. For Europe, at the top of the list is a Single European Sky. It could deliver 16 million tons of CO2 savings annually and shave billions off the fuel bill. The technical solutions exist, but we’ve been waiting decades for governments to sort out the politics,” he said.