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Airline emissions set to fall

Biofuel tests successful

[March 31st 2009]

Plane taking off

Global carbon emissions from aviation are expected to fall by almost 8% this year as airlines react to climate change.

Speaking at the annual Aviation and Environment Summit being held in Geneva by the Air Transport Action Group, International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general and CEO, Giovanni Bisignana said:

“This year we expect a 7.8% drop in global carbon emissions from aviation. Of this, 6.0% is from an expected drop in capacity and the other 1.8% is directly related to our Four Pillar Strategy on Climate Change, specifically improvement in technology, operations and infrastructure.”

Airlines have been making good progress in reducing fuel consumption. “In 2008 IATA’s efforts saved 15 million tonnes of carbon emissions. Working side-by-side with our member airlines, IATA’s Green Teams identified savings between 3 and 12% of fuel consumption at each airline visited,” Bisignani continued.

“We also worked with air navigation service providers resulting in 214 more direct routings and better terminal area management at 103 airports. Our target for this year is to save a further 10 million tonnes,” he added.

More airlines are also looking at using biofuels in order to reduce harmful carbon emissions. Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand, JAL and Continental Airlines have all recently completed successful biofuel tests.

“We have made amazing progress. Certification by 2010 or 2011 is a real possibility. Biofuels may even hold the promise of improved fuel efficiency on top of the potential to reduce emissions by up to 80% over the lifecycle of the fuel,” commented Bisignani.

In 2007 Bisignani outlined a vision for aviation to achieve carbon-neutral growth on the way to a carbon-free future. “Twenty-two months later we are closer to carbon neutral growth than ever. We cannot, however, be complacent. We have a responsibility to secure the future of the 32 million jobs and US$3.5 trillion in economic activity dependant on aviation. We need global leadership that unites industry and governments with the common purpose of reducing emissions,” he told the ATAG summit in Geneva.

Written by: Nick Purdom

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