The United States and China sign agreement to share environmental best practices at airports
Beijing Capital International Airport is the world's largest building
Fri 24 Apr 2009 – The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which they will work together to share best environmental practices at airports in the two countries. The CAAC reports that the country plans to spend $30 billion on aviation infrastructure in 2009 and $17 billion on airport construction and expansion over the next five years. By 2020, China is expected to have a total of 244 civil airports, including 97 new airports, with around 40 new projects expected to start during this year alone.
China’s National Civil Airports Distribution Plan calls for 80% of the Chinese population to be within 100km of an airport. The country has seen passenger growth rates of 10-15% a year and cargo volume growth of 8-13%. Industry forecasts predict the rapid expansion will see China becoming the second largest aviation market in the world, after the United States, in five years.
The agreement – with no specific details released – is designed to enhance US and Chinese aviation, says the FAA. Gene Kingsbury, who manages the FAA’s Asia-Pacific Division, said the relationship between the two countries continues to grow and mature.
The signing took place at the recent China/US Aviation Symposium held in Beijing, which was co-sponsored by the US government and industry, including the United States Trade and Development Agency, as well as the CAAC.
During her speech at the conference, the FAA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for International Aviation, Di Reimold, told delegates: “I would like to mention our efforts to mitigate the impact of aviation on our global environment. In order to sustain growth in our industry, we must find new ways to address greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution.
“At present, we’re working together through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to identify ways to address these environmental challenges. China and the United States are two of the 15 members of ICAO’s Group on International Aviation and Climate Change (GIACC). This is the right way to go in terms of addressing what is one of our most significant global challenges.”
Reimold also highlighted cooperation in developing China’s plans to modernize its air traffic system and flight safety rules. “I believe that the United States and China, which represent the two largest aviation systems in the world, have an obligation to the global community to lead the way in aviation cooperation.”
ARTICLE UPDATE – Tue 28 Apr 2009:
Nancy LoBue, Acting Assistant Administrator, Policy, Planning & Environment at the FAA told GreenAir Online:
“The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the US Trade and Development Agency (TDA), the CAAC and the FAA affirmed the US and Chinese intent to work together through EcoPartnerships. The concept promotes identifying, developing and implementing environmentally sustainable best practices at airports. In support of these efforts, US and Chinese airports will form bilateral partnerships, and the US-China Aviation Cooperation Program will undertake a study to identify best practices. The TDA is sponsoring an orientation visit by Chinese officials from the CAAC to US airports to observe environmentally-friendly concepts in operation at US airports.”
James R. White, the FAA’s Deputy Director of the Office of Airports Safety and Standards said the Chinese delegation would visit a number of airports – as yet unspecified – that had various environmental programmes and initiatives in progress. “The purpose would be to make them aware of our state-of-the-art technology we are employing to reduce emissions, for example the use of alternative fuels in airport ground vehicles, as well as sustainability and green issues facing airports in the US.”