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AEA Press Release 24 Sep.09

The Association of European Airlines, representing Europe’s most important network carriers, has welcomed the commitments made by aviation-industry leaders to the United Nations in New York, to address aviation’s contribution to climate change, with a package of meaningful and ultimately powerful measures.

The commitments, which were delivered on behalf of the industry by a delegation including Willie Walsh of British Airways, Mats Janssen of SAS and Pierre Caussade of Air France/KLM, included firm undertakings to deliver an improvement in CO2 emissions efficiency of 1.5% each year to 2020, no further growth in CO2 emissions from 2020 and a halving of emissions by 2050.

Said AEA Secretary General Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus: “we congratulate IATA on putting together this forceful industry consensus. AEA airlines have been fully involved in the EU’s leadership on this issue, and have consistently argued for a global solution. A tonne of CO2 has the same impact on climate wherever it is emitted – on the ground or in the air, in Europe, the USA or China. Only by engaging the worldwide industry can we foresee meaningful reductions for a sector which , currently, makes a contribution of just 2% to global CO2 emissions”.

The targets contained in the industry commitment were challenging, he said. *Inefficient air traffic management accounts for a substantial part of the airlines’ carbon footprint – 16 million tonnes of unnecessary CO2 emissions annually in Europe alone. Technological advances promise enormous environmental benefits but research and development needs to be funded”, said Mr Schulte-Strathaus. “We are in the midst of the deepest economic crisis the industry has known. Airlines – in Europe, and around the world – are living off their reserves, and their reserves are dwindling rapidly. They cannot generate the funds to develop the next generation of cleaner, greener aircraft, engines and fuels, but neither can they access the external sources of capital which they have used in the past”.

In their New York declaration, he said, the airlines had nonetheless made it clear that they fully accept their environmental responsibilities, and in doing so sent a signal to other participants in the debate that global solutions are achievable. “Airlines are the first worldwide industry to have proposed a comprehensive global approach, and we hope the world has taken note. We have long been the victim of misperceptions, about both our contribution to the problem, and our commitment to the solution. The record has now been put straight”.

For further information, please contact:
David Henderson Manager Information
Phone : +32(0) 2 639 89 72 Email: david.henderson@aea.be . www.aea.be

Note to the Editor: The Association of European Airlines (AEA) brings together 33 European established scheduled network carriers. These collectively carry 366 million passengers and 7 million tonnes of cargo each year, operating 2,617 aircraft serving 662 destinations in 162 countries with 11,585 flights a day. They provide around 394,200 jobs directly, and generate a total turnover of €79 billion

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