UN Climate Summit: Global Aviation Community Outlines its ‘Action Plan’

As world leaders gather in New York to address the UK General Assembly at the UN Climate Summit, the world’s aviation industry has announced further commitments to help reduce the impact of global aviation emissions – working closely with the UN’s global aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The commitment was signed by global trade organisations representing airports, airlines, ATM organisations and critically, the Aerospace manufacturing industry (through global trade body, the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Association – ICCAIA).

The commitment announced by industry and ICAO includes a range of measures, such as:

  • Developing and agreeing a global CO2 standard for aircraft by 2016.
  • Supporting the development of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation by ensuring governments set to right conditions for their development and use.
  • Accelerating the transformation of global air traffic management performance and operational improvements from airlines and airports.
  • Developing and designing an effective, global, market-based measure for international aviation to be agreed at the next ICAO General Assembly.
  • Reducing net air transport CO2 emissions by 2050 to half of what they were in 2005.

The Aviation ‘Action Plan’ also states the importance of industry led efforts to invest in R&D and develop significant technological improvements.  The plan outlines that not only has the fuel efficiency of jet aircraft has improved by 70% over the past 60 years, but that each new generation of aircraft brings about double-digit emissions reductions over the models they replace.

Technological innovation is therefore critical to achieving the goals outlined by industry and ICAO. Not only is development of fuel efficient technology important part of meeting these targets, but it is also a business critical focus – both for airlines, who wish to reduce the cost of fuel (around 1/3 of operating costs and over £125bn globally in 2013), and aerospace manufacturers who must continue to focus on environmental innovation to win business and orders.