Finnair and SAA first to reach the top level in IATA's airline environmental assessment programme
Finnair is the first European airline to be IEnvA Stage 2 certified, as well as shortly becoming Europe's first Airbus A350 operator
Tue 13 Jan 2015 – Finnair and South African Airways have become the first airlines to complete the highest level of IATA’s environmental performance assessment programme. Stage 2 marks the implementation by the two airlines of all of the IATA Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) Standards, and each has identified and mitigated its significant environmental impacts alongside setting performance targets. This stage also certifies that an airline has developed processes for monitoring and reviewing performance against its environmental targets and objectives. IATA also reports Icelandair, Qatar Airways and SriLankan Airlines have now completed Stage 1 of the programme, which ensures an airline has established a foundation and framework for its environmental management system (EMS), and certifies an airline has identified and complied with its environmental legal requirements.
IATA Director-General Tony Tyler said environmental responsibility, in addition to safety, was the highest priority for the industry. “The new IATA Environmental Assessment sits alongside our industry-wide carbon-reduction targets as a programme for ensuring airlines not only meet, but also exceed their day-to-day operational environmental obligations and performance,” he said.
Commending the five airlines, he added: “These airlines are among the pioneers in this critical new programme. IATA’s audits and assessment schemes are impartial, independent evaluations designed to improve industry performance against global benchmarks.”
The environmental standards and recommended practices for the programme have been specifically designed for the sector and are based on recognised EMS principles such as ISO 14001. IEnvA assesses environmental performance against sustainability standards across a broad range of disciplines, such as the management of air quality and emissions; noise; fuel consumption and operational efficiency; sustainable procurement; and biofuel utilisation. As a result, says IATA, it helps airlines to simplify regulatory compliance, demonstrate good governance and achieve financial savings from the better use of resources.
The programme adopts a modular approach, initially focusing on flight operations and corporate activities at a global level, with a later expansion planned into other activities such as catering, ground operations and maintenance, repair and overhaul.
Assessments are conducted by accredited independent organisations with competencies in aviation and environmental auditing, assures IATA.
“The IATA Operational Safety Audit has done much to help improve airline safety and we expect the IEnvA will do the same for environmental standards,” said Tyler.
Finnair reached Stage 1 of the programme in June 2013, along with a small pilot group of airlines. Other airlines that have also achieved this level include Air Transat, Kenya Airways, LATAM, LATAM Cargo and Malaysia Airlines.
While other major carriers from Europe and America have, disappointingly, yet to join the programme, Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo said developing common environmental standards and assessment was important for the industry.
“Environmental sustainability is at the core of Finnair’s operations and we are continuously working to improve our environmental performance,” he said. “It also matters to our customers and we are happy to provide more sustainable options for their air travel.”
The airline has in place a number of environmental targets, including a 20% reduction in carbon emissions between 2009 and 2017, and a 40% noise reduction from its aircraft between 2014 and 2017. Other targets cover reductions in waste, anti-icing fluid usage and energy usage in corporate facilities.
Added Finnair COO Ville Iho: “Everything we can do to minimise our carbon profile as an airline is a victory for the environment and for our ability to generate shareholder value. In the long run, however, environmental performance is like safety – it is something that all airlines benefit from within sector-wide cooperation. The standards of the IEnvA programme help us and all airlines improve fuel efficiency, reduce waste and limit greenhouse gas emissions in our operations.”