AEA, IATA welcomes ICAO agreement on aviation emissions

The Association of European Airlines (AEA), representing Europe’s most important network carriers, has welcomed the agreement reached on October 4 by the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), to develop a global framework to reduce and manage aviation emissions.

After years of discussions and negotiations, delegates from the 191 member countries of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) ratified the agreement last Friday. The framework agreement authorises the ICAO to develop a global mechanism known as market-based measures (MBM) over the next three years. Among other things, it may lead to taxing airlines for their greenhouse gas emissions.

Global aviation contributes less than 2 percent of all carbon emissions, but ICAO is looking to contain greenhouse emissions fully as the industry expands, especially in the developing world. Passenger demand is expected to double by 2030.

Voicing support to the MBM agreement, the AEA said: ‘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.’

The AEA added: ‘The key to sustainability is technology, and 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 airline industry has called the agreement ‘historic,’ being the first accord on climate change for any global sector. ‘Today was a great day for aviation, for the effort against climate change and for global standards and international co-operation,’ said Tony Tyler, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 84 percent of the world’s air traffic. ‘Now we have a strong mandate and a short, three-year time frame to sort out the details,’ he added.

The European Union has also welcomed the Montreal agreement.

Calling upon the EU to reaffirm its leadership towards enabling consensus for developing a robust MBM mechanism, Mr. Athar Husain Khan, acting secretary general of AEA, said: Channelling the diversity within ICAO into a common purpose will be a challenging task, but ultimately the rewards will be enormous.’