The Association of European Airlines, representing Europe’s most important network carriers, has welcomed the agreement reached by the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to move forward in developing a global scheme to manage aviation emissions impacting the environment.
This landmark agreement, reached on Friday, 4 October in Montreal, was the culmination of a rigorous work programme for industry stakeholders and an encouraging expression of alignment among the 191 nations represented in ICAO. Uniquely, the global aviation sector has unanimously resolved to work towards ‘market-based measures’ (MBMs) to incentivise emissions abatement while maintaining a level playing-field in what is a strongly competitive international industry. The ICAO agreement is an acknowledgement of the industry’s commitment.
Market-based measures are just one tool in the quest to mitigate the impact of aviation emissions. The key to sustainability is technology, and air transport must have the means to invest in the new technologies which will make low-carbon air travel a reality. The industry will continue to seek operational answers to flying more efficiently, but must have the infrastructure in place to deliver the potential benefits – in this respect the lack of a Single European Sky is a huge environmental burden.
The European Union, always the most progressive voice in the climate-change debate, but at times too progressive for the rest of the world, has welcomed the Montreal agreement. “This is a triumph for real-world politics”, said Mr Athar Husain Khan, acting Secretary General of AEA. “Gradual progress is better than no progress at all and infinitely better than division and confrontation”. He called upon the EU to reaffirm its leadership, this time as a consensus-builder, during the three years ICAO has given itself to develop a robust MBM mechanism. “Channelling the diversity within ICAO into a common purpose will be a challenging task, but ultimately the rewards will be enormous”, said Mr Husain Khan, “the first step has been taken, and it is an important one”.
ABOUT AEA: The Association of European Airlines (AEA) brings together 31 European established scheduled network carriers. These collectively carry 400 million passengers and 6 million tonnes of cargo each year, operating 2,600 aircraft serving 640 destinations in 170 countries with 11,000 flights a day. They provide around 390,000 jobs directly, and generate a total turnover of €93 billion.