Climate Action Takes Flight: An Open Letter From the Aviation Sector to Governments

Commercial Airplane Flying Against A Blue Sky
Commercial Airplane Flying Against A Blue Sky

One year ahead of the 39th International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly and as governments prepare to meet in Paris for the crucial COP21 climate change negotiations, we reaffirm our commitment to reduce aviation's contribution to climate change. As a result of billions of dollars of investment and collaborative action already taken by the industry, a passenger today produces half the CO2 per kilometre flown compared to 1990. This is significant progress. But we recognise that more needs to be done.

Many economies rightly wish to foster the vital connectivity for trade, investment and tourism that further development of air transport can bring. We must balance that task with the challenge faced by all industrial sectors to reduce emissions. Aviation already supports around 60 million jobs, a third of global trade by value and half of all international tourists. Our mission is to continue to provide these benefits, particularly in the developing world, whilst at the same time cutting CO2 emissions.

As leaders in the aviation industry and the global business community and as the first global transport sector to set carbon-reduction goals, we have been engaged in impressive cross-sectoral climate action. Our ambitious goals are to:

  1. Improve the fuel efficiency of the world fleet by an average 1.5% per annum, a goal we are already exceeding;

  • Stabilise net aviation CO2 emissions at 2020 levels through carbon-neutral growth;
  • Halve aviation's net CO2 emissions by 2050, compared with a 2005 baseline.
  • These have been matched by action across the sector in four key areas:

    Technology and sustainable alternative fuels: over a trillion dollars has been spent on high-technology, efficient, aircraft since 2009 and the industry has fostered a new alternative fuel sector.

    Operations: through countless measures being implemented by the industry around the world, the operational efficiency of aircraft already in the fleet is continually being improved.

    Infrastructure:airports are implementing efficiency measures on the ground and air traffic management organisations are working to design better use of airspace.

    Market-based measures:the aviation industry is committed to a global market-based measure for the sector, to be developed through ICAO and in place from 2020. In the industry's view, a single global carbon offsetting scheme offers the swiftest and most effective approach.

    Today we call on governments to support efforts towards realising these goals.

    This support must take place through a range of actions: air traffic management investment and reform; continued support for research into new technology, operations and sustainable alternative fuels; improved intermodal transport planning; and the right policy framework to help accelerate the availability of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation.

    These measures should be undertaken as part of a smart regulatory environment which encourages aviation development as part of broader government economic growth policy, coordinated within and across national borders to bring global benefits in a way that avoids unintended negative consequences.

    Importantly, we have just one year in which to shape a ground-breaking market-based measure that will, for the first time, enable a single global sector to stabilise its emissions from 2020. It's a challenging task. But it is one to which the aviation industry is fully committed. We need governments meeting at ICAO to work together with us and civil society to push this process forward. We call on them to agree at the 39th ICAO Assembly to the implementation of a simple, global offsetting scheme which will stabilise air transport carbon emissions growth and to endorse an historic global CO2 standard for new aircraft. To delay will harm a vital global sector and harm our global climate.

    Just one year to go... the countdown is on!

    For the full explanation of our commitments and examples of climate action across the sector, please visit

    Yours sincerely,

    Fabrice Brégier: President and Chief Executive Officer, Airbus

    Patrick de Castelbajac: Chief Executive Officer, ATR

    Raymond L. Conner: President and Chief Executive Officer, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

    Fred Cromer: President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft

    Jean-Paul Ebanga: President and CEO, CFM International

    Paulo Silva: President and CEO, Embraer Commercial Aviation

    David L. Joyce: President and Chief Executive Officer, GE Aviation

    Tim Mahoney: President and Chief Executive Officer, Honeywell Aerospace

    Paul Adams: President, Pratt & Whitney

    Tony Wood: President -- Aerospace, Rolls-Royce

    Philippe Petitcolin: Chief Executive Officer, Safran

    Angela Gittens: Director General, Airports Council International

    Jeff Poole: Director General, Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation

    Tony Tyler: Director General and CEO, International Air Transport Association

    David F Melcher: Chair, International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations

    Kurt Edwards: Director General, International Business Aviation Council

    Peter J Bunce: President and CEO, General Aviation Manufacturers Association

    Dr. Elijah Chingosho: Secretary General, African Airlines Association (AFRAA)

    Nicholas E. Calio: President and CEO, Airlines for America (A4A)

    Abdul Wahab Teffaha: Secretary General, Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO)

    Andrew Herdman: Director General, Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines (AAPA)

    Athar Husian Khan: Chief Executive Officer, Association of European Airlines (AEA)

    Fabio Gamba: Chief Executive Officer, European Business Aviation Association (EBAA)

    John Hanlon: Secretary General, European Low Fares Airlines Association (ELFAA)

    Simon McNamara: Director General, European Regions Airline Association (ERA)

    Sylviane Lust: Director General, International Air Carriers Association (IACA)

    Andrés Conesa: President and CEO, Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA)

    Michael Gill: Executive Director, Air Transport Action Group