IATA: “Our focus is on cutting emissions to half 2005 levels by 2050”

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has noted the progress made by governments in cutting emissions, at the 40th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The environment was at the top of the agenda, and after some robust discussions between states, there were two critical outcomes:

  • The ICAO Council will report to the next Assembly on options for the adoption of a long-term aspirational goal for reducing carbon emissions from international aviation.
  • The Assembly passed a resolution that reaffirmed and strengthened its support for the successful implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)—the world’s first global carbon offsetting scheme.

A decade ago the aviation industry agreed a long-term goal to cut aviation emissions to half the levels of 2005 by 2050 and is working on a pathway to achieve that goal. This Assembly marks the first time that ICAO member states have agreed to consider a long-term goal for governments to reduce aviation emissions—a move that is strongly welcomed by airlines.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “Sustainability is critical to earning aviation’s license to grow and spread its many economic and social benefits. Decarbonizing the sector is a major challenge. Our focus is on cutting emissions to half 2005 levels by 2050 and we are making consistent progress.

Flying today is 17.3% more fuel-efficient than a decade ago. From 2020—with the help of CORSIA—the sector’s growth will be carbon neutral. The strong support of governments for developing a UN backed long-term goal for reducing emissions would support us in those efforts and take us to the next step.”

Alexandre de Juniac

Juniac went on to to add: “National policy measures aligned to a global long-term emissions reduction goal will enable the industry to work even more effectively on crucial opportunities like commercializing sustainable aviation fuels and more efficient air traffic management.”

Meanwhile, the enhanced and strong support for CORSIA will shore-up the important step of capping aviation’s emissions from 2020. CORSIA will offset growth of international flight emissions from 2021, generating some $40 billion of aviation-funded climate finance by 2035.

“We need to implement CORSIA successfully. It’s essential to our promise of carbon-neutral growth. This Assembly has sent a clear message that governments are committed to CORSIA and want to broaden participation from the voluntary stage. We look forward to seeing these commitments delivered as CORSIA begins—particularly by those states that are undermining CORSIA with additional taxes or charges,” said de Juniac.

The Assembly also made decisions on many other critical issues and initiatives. Highlights include:

  • Passengers with Disabilities: The Assembly requested the ICAO Council to develop a work program on accessibility for passengers with disabilities in order to reach for a disability-inclusive air transport system. This aligns with IATA’s call for governments to adopt a globally harmonized approach to enabling passengers with disabilities to travel safely and with dignity.
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones): The Assembly directed the ICAO Council to urgently consider the establishment of a high-level body with the industry to regularly provide strategic advice to the Council concerning innovation. This includes issues like the integration of UAS into airspace. This aligns with IATA’s call for states to work together through ICAO and in cooperation with industry to develop provisions for these airspace new entrants.
  • Unruly Passengers: The Assembly resolved to urge states to ratify Montreal Protocol of 2014 which modernizes measures to deal with unruly passengers—a measure that IATA fully supports.
  • One ID: The Assembly endorsed the IATA One ID project which highlights the benefits of biometric recognition to secure and facilitate the passenger clearance process. The need for robust data protection policies—built into the One ID project—was also stressed.
  • Harmful Interference with Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS): The Assembly called for measures to manage and reduce the impact from harmful interference to GNSS on the safety and efficiency of aircraft and air traffic management operations. This aligns with IATA’s call for measures to reduce the vulnerability of GNSS.
  • Infrastructure Shortcomings: The Assembly agreed that governments should implement the necessary infrastructure components to meet existing and future demand in alignment with the Global Air Navigation Plan. The Assembly also agreed that governments need to work with aviation stakeholders to identify and address infrastructure challenges in a timely manner. This aligns with IATA’s call for governments to address infrastructure shortcomings in areas of efficient services, capacity to meet demand, and industry engagement.
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