IATA talks climate


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has repeated its call for a global sectoral approach for aviation and climate change under the leadership of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The call was made by Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO in the sixth annual Dr. Assad Kotaite Lecture hosted by the Royal Aeronautical Society in Montreal.

As governments prepare to gather in Copenhagen for talks on climate change, Bisignani identified environmental responsibility as a top priority for aviation, alongside safety and security. The aviation industry is globally united with a commitment to stabilize emissions with carbon neutral growth from 2020 and a 50% net reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

“Aviation is a global industry that moves with global standards. Our commitment to reducing emissions includes all the value chain—manufacturers, airports, air navigation service providers and airlines—and crosses all geographies.

“Because our businesses operate across borders, aviation has a unique track record of finding global solutions to even the most difficult issues. For example, under ICAO’s leadership, we found a solution to noise that accommodated the needs of developed and developing nations. We are a model for industry-government cooperation within the United Nations framework. Aviation will be the only industry bringing a global solution to Copenhagen,” said Bisignani.

A global sectoral approach would account for aviation’s carbon emissions at a global level as an industrial sector, not by state. This would ensure that aviation is fully accountable for its emissions, and through access to global carbon markets would pay for its emissions once, not several times over.

Cooperation between industry and government to secure aviation’s future was the theme of Bisignani’s remarks which focused on long-term strategic industry issues. “Flying is the safest way to travel precisely because of industry cooperation with governments though ICAO,” said Bisignani.

Improvements in safety must be data-driven. IATA is launching a Global Safety Information Center to house IATA safety information in a single online database. Bisignani supported ICAO Secretary-General Raymond Benjamin’s call for even greater sharing of safety data.

“To make a safe industry even safer we must cooperate and share data. The upcoming ICAO high level meeting on safety (March 2010) will be a great opportunity to take this forward with concrete plans to amalgamate safety data from audits and inspections conducted by ICAO, FAA, EASA and IATA to improve safety by identifying trends and potential hazards,” said Bisignani.

Bisignani also paid tribute to Dr. Kotaite, who previously held the ICAO posts of Secretary General and President of the Council. “I am reminded of the great leadership role played by my friend Dr. Kotaite in a career that spanned over half a century. He was fundamental in bringing people together to build ICAO into the respected institution that it is today. Within the ICAO framework, governments and industry chose to cooperate. They built this great industry on global standards and set a successful precedent to continue addressing important issues such as safety and environment,” said Bisignani.