Emissions policies must be balanced

Delegates attending the annual TIACA conference, recently, heard calls for 'proportionate policies' that recognise that aviation drives 8 per cent of the global economy yet accounts for less than 3 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

The aviation industry is working hard to reduce emissions and its impact on the environment and any future legislation must take into account the overall effects of aviation on climate change and the industry’s vital importance to world trade. That was the clear message to members of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) at their annual Executive Conference in Copenhagen, recently.

Speaking in a special session on the environment, John Keenan, executive vice president & COO of the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) said airlines have already made signifi cant progress in addressing climate change and are continuing to do so.

Aviation, he said, contributes some 2 per cent of man-made CO2 worldwide with an estimated climate change impact of 3.5 per cent. With demand for aviation growing, estimates suggest this will increase to 3 and 5 per cent respectively by 2050.

Airlines, he added, were driven to be fuel efficient. Continued increases in the cost of oil mean fuel has become the number one cost for most airlines. Consequently, airlines have every incentive to operate more efficiently.

An improving industry

US airlines have improved fuel efficiency 110 per cent since 1978 and achieved an overall 4 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions between 2000 and 2006 even with an increase in passenger and cargo volumes. ATA airlines, he confirmed, have committed to an additional 30 per cent fuel efficiency improvement before 2025.