Asia Is Driving Growth And Shifting Aviation’s Center Of Gravity Eastward

By 2015 IATA’s passenger forecast anticipates that Asia-Pacific will represent 37 percent, while traffic associated with Europe and North America will fall to 29 percent

Growth brings challenges in areas such as security and climate change. These are best met by governments and industry working together with common purpose.

Security:  Tyler urged broad cooperation among industry and governments to realize the Checkpoint of the Future. Aviation is far more secure today than prior to 9.11 but airline costs ballooned to $7.4 billion annually while the level of convenience for passengers deteriorated. The introduction of more complex procedures has resulted in a decline in hourly passenger throughput at security checkpoints from an average of 335 (pre-9.11) to 149 today. “Security is a top priority that must not be compromised. But everybody hopes for an early evolution from an airport checkpoint experience defined by queuing, unpacking, removing clothing, separating certain items and possibly invasive searches. The system works, but it is struggling to cope with today’s volumes. Growth will only make the challenge bigger. One of my priorities is to build global consensus that will see the Checkpoint of the Future improve the quality and convenience of airport security,” said Tyler.

The Checkpoint of the Future envisages using passenger data collected for immigration authorities to differentiate airport screening.  Secondly, it incorporates technology expected to be available in a seven to ten year time frame to enable passengers to walk through checkpoints without stopping or unpacking.

Along with support from Interpol, the European Commission, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Chinese government, 16 states have endorsed the Checkpoint of the Future concept.

Climate Change:  The aviation value chain is committed to improving fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% annually to 2020, capping net emissions from 2020 with carbon-neutral growth and cutting its carbon footprint in half by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. Improvements in technology, operations and infrastructure as well as the use of positive economic measures are needed to achieve this.

With the potential to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint by up to 80% (over the lifecycle of the fuel), sustainable biofuels have a big contribution to make. “To move into general usage, we need the price to drop and the supply to increase. Policy measures that and de-risk the investment needed for the scaling up of commercial aviation biofuels projects are crucial,” said Tyler.

“Positive economic measures such as emissions trading are a necessary, if temporary, bridge to reach aviation’s climate change targets. To be effective and avoid market distortions, these measures must be globally coordinated.  Europe deserves credit for pushing this issue up the international agenda and it is at the forefront on emissions trading. But its unilateral approach must change,” said Tyler.

The industry supported the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as an intra-European solution that would avoid uncoordinated tax measures. But the scope was extended beyond Europe’s borders and there was no let-up in taxation. “Departure taxes in the UK, Germany and Austria—introduced as environmental measures—cost over EUR 4 billion. At current prices for UN issued Certified Emissions Reductions, that would offset aviation’s global CO2 emissions about one-and-a-half times. And ETS is coming on top of that,” said Tyler.

Non-European governments see this extra-territorial tax collection as an attack on their sovereignty. They are taking action.  “Aviation can ill afford to be caught in an escalating political or trade conflict over the EU ETS. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is the only way forward. I sense a greater appreciation in Europe that a global solution under ICAO may take time, but it will produce a superior result. It is more important than ever for Europe to be a fully engaged participant in discussions at ICAO aimed at delivering a global solution,” said Tyler.

Read Tony Tyler's speech

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Notes for Editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 240 airlines comprising 84% of global air traffic.

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