From: Andy Soos, ENN
Published October 4, 2010 12:58 PM

The Future of Aviation: Confusion or Sanity

All industries across the world face the same regulatory maze and misdirection. In some cases it has led to industry leaving and going to China where laws are more permissive, That is not an option for the aviation industry which flies everywhere. All aviation stakeholders, including manufacturers, airlines, airports and navigation service providers, have issued a joint call for governments to agree a global plan to address aviation emissions at December's United Nations climate summit in Cancun.


The call from the international aerospace industry comes as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is holding its general assembly in Montreal.

Industry worries that a fragmented worldwide regulatory system would raise compliance costs for the sector and hurt the global industry.

The industry believes that ICAO, a specialized UN agency which codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation, is the right forum to draw up an appropriate global framework and implement it.

The summit communiqué of September 17th urged the states involved in the UN climate negotiations "to summon the political will to endorse the industry targets for reducing emissions and establish the necessary global framework to deliver them". The suggested goals included:

1. 1.5% fuel efficiency improvement per year to 2020.

2. Cap air emissions in 2020; CO2 neutral or better after that date.

3. Halve net air emissions by 2050versus 2005 levels.

4. Increase use of biofuels.

5. Improve air traffic control systems both for safety and improved fuel efficiency.

6. Other new technology (such as solar perhaps)

According to figures from the US Air Transport Association, US airlines have already cut fuel use by 3% between 2000 and 2007, despite rising passenger numbers.

While the industry is committed to improving its fuel efficiency, as well as stopping and then halving its net carbon emissions, it stresses that these goals are  subject to governmental incentives such as funding technological research and development for airframes and engines and the commercial development of alternative low carbon fuels while also providing modern airport and airspace infrastructure.

The communiqué further notes that the most effective current means of lowering CO2 emissions is to invest in new aircraft, but that the industry's ability to do so "is threatened by increasing and costly regulatory burdens, including taxes, charges and economic measures". 

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