Calling for ‘greener’ air transport, the United Nations aviation agency today marked International Civil Aviation Day with a pledge to make even greater efforts to ensure that plane flights do less harm to the environment by reducing global warming greenhouse emissions.
“Improving the environmental performance of aviation is a challenge we all take very seriously,” International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Secretary General Taïeb Chérif said.
“We look forward to continued global cooperation in our drive for ‘The Greening of Flight,’ so that air transport remains as environmentally friendly as possible until alternate sources of fuel and different technologies can one day eliminate its impact on the environment.”
‘The Greening of Flight - maximizing compatibility between safe and orderly development of civil aviation and the quality of the environment’ is the theme of this year’s Day, celebrated annually on 7 December to mark ICAO’s creation in 1944.
“Liberalization of air travel and the remarkable growth of the air transport sector is outpacing environmental achievements, hence the need for even more concerted efforts on the environmental front,” ICAO Council President Assad Kotaite said.
He pointed to a range of standards, policies and guidance material developed by ICAO that have contributed to aircraft operations that today can be 70 per cent more efficient, cleaner and quieter than in the 1970s. For example, use of satellite technology allows for more direct flights, resulting in less fuel burn and less pollution.
This year’s entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming gave new impetus to ICAO’s work.
“Specifically, the Protocol calls on industrialized countries of the world to work through ICAO to pursue the limitation of greenhouse gas emissions from international civil aviation,” Mr. Kotaite noted.
In 2007 ICAO will publish its first Environment Report, an authoritative information and reference resource for discussions at the agency’s tri-annual assemblies in an effort “to provide the citizens of the world with as clean a mode of air transportation as we can make it,” Mr. Chérif said.
“It is not an easy task, yet we must succeed for the future development of air travel,” he added.