Airbus chief says aviation sector is unfairly attacked over climate change
Tom Enders, President and CEO, Airbus
Thu 10 Apr 2008 – In a media briefing in Auckland, Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders said the aviation sector had been unfairly singled out and attacked as the major contributor to climate change. Aviation is not just about passengers, he told journalists, it also supports millions of livelihoods with around 40% of goods by value transported by air.
“The arguments go against all the facts,” he said. “Aviation provides some 32 million highly skilled jobs around the world and yet produces only 2% of the man-made CO2 emissions, while contributing directly and indirectly to some 8% of economic GDP growth.
“Over the past 30 years we have reduced emissions and fuel burn by 70%. As an example, with the introduction of new state-of-the-art single-aisle aircraft – which are 40% more efficient than older types – the industry as a whole is saving over 28 million tonnes of fuel and 88 million tonnes of CO2 per year.”
Enders believed the solution to emissions was technology and innovation, not new taxes and constraints. Airbus, he said, was spending up to 500 million euros ($780m) annually on technologies related to the environment.
However, he said, the aviation sector must do more. “Aviation is surfing on a wave of strong growth and if it is to continue, our industry has to face up to some major environmental challenges. Regulators and lawmakers also have a role. There must be cross-border and cross-industry collaboration.”
Test results from the Airbus A380 flight in February using synthetic Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) fuel – an industry first – would be announced soon, he said, but they “indicate that GTL could be a real, practical alternative in commercial aviation in the near future.”
He went on: “GTL is just a first step and important enabler towards future research on sustainable second-generation biofuels, which do not compete with the food chain, and algae looks like an exciting possibility. We believe such fuel sources will reach maturity by 2015, and that biofuels could be providing 30% of jet fuels by 2030.”