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ACI: Airports urge government endorsement on climate change

AirTransportNews.aero 5 Nov.09

Source: ACI

Airports have voted unanimously to support an ACI Resolution urging governments to adopt a global sectoral approach to managing aviation’s impact on climate change. Throughout the past year, airports have worked with their partners – airlines, air navigation service suppliers and manufacturers – to compile data from all sectors of the aviation industry concerning CO2 emissions and the measurable progress that has been made to reduce those levels.

This information has been submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organization, which holds the mandate to provide input to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, a conference which will be held in Copenhagen in early December. Industry input has been vital in shaping realistic and achievable targets and determining a cohesive approach to managing carbon emissions and setting a path to an agreed long-term carbon neutral goal for the industry.

Speaking to the airport delegates at the ACI conference on Tuesday, Gittens said, “Aviation has made tremendous progress in reducing its carbon footprint. And we have worked diligently to show that our industry, more than many others, is taking a systematic approach to reducing fuel consumption. We are working with our airline and air traffic management partners to be more efficient in our processes and management of airside operations. And through our joint industry association, the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), we have presented a strong case for reducing promoting a global sectoral approach, which will be carried forward by ICAO. It is summarized in the Resolution that ACI members unanimously support.”

At the ACI conference, there was a session dedicated to sustainable airports in today’s programme. Katherine Miles, representing the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), addressed the need to measure sustainable efforts at airports and transparently communicate to our multiple stakeholders as a means to build trust. Pakis Papademetriou of Athens International Airport represented one of the airports involved in the GRI. He enthusiastically supports the principles “manage, measure and communicate” when it comes to sustainable action at the airport. He pointed to the positive chain created by the establishment of standards which enable reporting, which in turn motivates action and in the end enhanced performance. Representing the Aviation Environment Federation UK on the panel, Tim Johnson emphasized the importance of sustainability reporting as well: to manage airport reputation, to build constructive dialogue, to involve employees in the bigger picture and to show communities where they are matching community aspirations.

Greg Principato, President of ACI North America Region, further added to the breadth of the topic by describing the programme his team has launched to encourage airports in the US and Canada. It includes 13 suggested actions, including the implementation of environmental management systems by 2014 for large airports, 2016 for medium airports and 2019 for small airports. He encouraged attendees to consult the new Sustainable Aviation Guideline Alliance (SAGA) database which consolidates existing practices into a searchable resource with supporting information at www.airportsustainability.org. He said of the multiple efforts they are encouraging members to consider, “We must shape the future rather than be shaped by it.”

Gittens emphasized the inter-relationship of the numerous initiatives undertaken at airports: “Airports are integral parts of the communities they serve and thus noise and local air quality are equally priority issues to manage more efficiently. ACI representatives and airports participate regularly on the ICAO environmental working group CAEP to make our voice heard on reducing noise and emissions. Our Environment Standing Committee has produced a new manual on managing greenhouse gases and is preparing a compendium of environmental best practices that can be used by all airports, large and small. We intend to progress steadily, working closely with our communities to ensure a sustainable future for our industry.

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