Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General
Thu 18 Oct 2007 – Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), challenged governments to “put aside politics” and join his industry in delivering an environmental performance benchmark for other industries to follow.
Speaking at the World Air Transport Forum in Cannes, Bisgnani told delegates: “Airlines are leading the environment debate with a vision to becoming carbon neutral in the medium term and achieving zero carbon emissions in the long term. We are setting the benchmark on environmental performance for other industries to follow.”
IATA’s 240-member airlines had agreed a “four-pillar strategy” on climate change:
· Investment in new technology;
· Evironmentally efficient infrastructure:
· Improved operations based on industry best practice; and
· Economic measures that provide effective incentives to improve environmental performance.
Bisagnani said the strategy has “delivered real results”, claiming that in 2006 IATA’s fuel campaign saved six million tonnes of CO2 by shortening 350 routes, eight million tonnes by working with airlines on best practice in fuel management and one million tonnes through better operational procedures. But, he said: “We cannot do it all on our own – governments must be involved.”
He said all 179 states attending the recent triennial Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization had endorsed the IATA strategy, including a target of a 25% improvement in fuel efficiency by 2020.
Bisignani had strong condemnation of EU proposals to include commercial aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme. “European States are taking a completely political and totally irresponsible approach by unilaterally pursuing emissions trading rather than taking a global approach,” he said. “This will cause diplomatic trade battles, but will do nothing for the environment.”
He also criticised the “inefficiency” of the European air traffic management system which, he claimed, wasted 12 million tonnes of CO2 each year. “Europe has been discussing a Single European Sky for 15 years, wasting a lot of hot air in discussions, [but] with no action. On the environment, it is acting like a hypocrite: charging for airline emissions without fixing the mess caused by its own air traffic management system.”
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