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Air Transport Industry Calls for Collaborative Environmental Action

  • Friday, 22nd April 2005
  • Reading time: about 4 minutes

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Over 300 global aviation leaders and experts representing all industry disciplines, came together for the first time to discuss ways to further improve the industry’s environmental performance.

The inaugural Aviation & Environment Summit co-organised under the umbrella of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) – with Airports Council International (ACI), the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Coordinating Council for the Aerospace Industries Association (ICCAIA) – provided a unique opportunity for airlines, airports, air navigation services providers and manufacturers to jointly define recommendations to ensure a fair balance between economic benefits, social development and environmental responsibility.

According to Philippe Rochat, Executive Director of ATAG: “”Air transport makes a unique contribution to the development of our global society. It facilitates trade and tourism, brings people and cultures together and sustains millions of jobs all around the world. Working together is the best way for the air transport industry to continue to serve society and simultaneously minimise its environmental impact””.

One of the important issues discussed at the summit was the use of materials such as FRP composites which are becoming widely used within the aerospace sector, with potential to reduce fuel consumption due to the weight savings afforded by new composite materials, best illustrated by Boeing’s 787 composite Dreamliner which claims to travel up to 8,500 nautical miles with a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption. The 787 enters service in 2008.

Airbus was one of the companies that participated in the summit with a presentation being made on the first day by Alain Garcia the Executive Vice President – (Engineering).

In his paper he specifically addressed the need to reduce aircraft fuel consumption and emissions by reducing the weight of aircraft through an optimisation of the aircraft throughout its whole life cycle from “design to end of life cycle”.

“”Airbus has long been engaged in projects aimed at understanding atmosphere and ensuring the technical solutions we develop are the most appropriate ones to prevent environment from being damaged,”” he said. “”We always strive to reduce fuel consumption and to optimise the weight, aerodynamics and performance of our aircraft from the early design stage to the end of their life-span. Airbus is committed to designing and manufacturing aircraft to the highest environmental standards.””

On the second day, Airbus executive vice-president, government relations, communications and external affairs Philippe Delmas gave a presentation on Airbus’ vision on the future of the air transport industry, including environmental considerations.

He emphasised that aviation is key for the development of society at large and added: “”Air transport has broken different limits over the years, in terms of technology, distance, reliability and capacity. Environment is the next barrier to break and, if we do not, we risk inhibiting air transport growth.

“”The aviation industry needs to improve its communication in order to demonstrate both the growing need for air transport and the increased environmental responsibility of the players in the industry. We can be proud of our past achievements in reducing our impact on the environment and we should not be shy in communicating our ambitious commitments for the future.””

The summit is meant to become a regular event through which aviation industry will convey a unique voice on environmental issues.

The summit participants urged governments to actively contribute to industry efforts and commitments by:
adopting and implementing effective land-use management policies in the vicinity of airports;
working with airports and air navigation service providers to ensure environmentally-responsible airport expansion and air route efficiency; and
continuing to work through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop effective and efficient policies to address the environmental impacts of aviation.

Plans are already underway to hold the second Summit in March 2006.

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