Airlines Set Environmental Benchmark

IATA challenged governments to "put aside politics and join industry in delivering real results to further improve air transport's good environmental performance." IATA's 240 member airlines agreed to a strategy on climate change which calls for the industry to: 1) Invest in new technology; 2) Build and use efficient infrastructure; 3) Operate planes effectively, and; 4) Consider positive economic measures while working with governments to define an emissions trading scheme that is fair, global, and voluntary.

"The strategy is not just words," said Bisignani, "we have delivered real results."

In 2006, he pointed out, IATA's fuel campaign saved 6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by shortening 350 routes; 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by working with airlines on best practice in fuel management; and 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide through better operational procedures.

"We cannot do it all on our own," said Bisignani, "governments must be involved. He noted IATA's biggest disappointment was the European Union politicizing the issue by unilaterally pursuing emissions trading rather than taking a global approach. "Europe has been discussing a Single European Sky for 15 years, wasting a lot of hot air in discussions, with no action. On the environment, it is acting like a hypocrite: charging for airline emissions without fixing the mess in its own air traffic menagement," commented Bisignani.

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