A new chapter for aviation
EU Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, launches International Airport Review’s 2017 Leaders’ Series with an overview of the ICAO historic agreement to reduce international aviation emissions.
The contribution of aviation to Europe’s economy is undisputable. The sector supports five million jobs and contributes €110 billion to the EU’s GDP every year. It is also essential for our mobility: 920 million passengers travelled by air in the EU in 2015 alone. Aviation, however, poses a growing threat to the environment and as air traffic increases worldwide, so do emissions. This pinpoints the reason why the agreement reached in October 2016 by the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is so important.
I had the privilege of heading the delegation of the European Union during the negotiations in Montreal. As was the case in Paris during COP21, the European Union was a key driving force behind the agreement. Europe spoke with one voice to the Assembly, as well as to the other delegations, and we managed to repeat the positive momentum generated at the COP21. At a time when the European spirit was tested by some unprecedented challenges, it was heartening to see European solidarity and unity at its best in Montreal.
The deal opens a new chapter in the history of aviation; one where sustainability finally becomes part of the way we fly. As of 2021, 66 states – including all Europeans – will be covered by a Global Market-Based Measure (GMBM), whereby airlines flying between these countries will offset the growth of their CO2 emissions. 18 of the 20 largest aviation nations are in from the start in 2021. Others will come on-board during the mandatory phase in 2027. Some say the deal is not ambitious enough and while it may not be perfect, we have managed to set a process in motion, which will not be reversed. We secured a strong review clause that will ensure we are regularly given the chance to improve the GMBM and make it more robust and ambitious.