Today was the first day of the Global Sustainable Aviation Summit; over 200 delegates from across the air transport industry gathered in Geneva to discuss the future of sustainable aviation. The schedule was definitely packed: ATAG’s new executive director Michael Gill was presented; the new Aviation Benefits Beyond Borders report was launched; and, the panel discussions and speeches definitely gave attendees food for thought.

The day included several panel discussions and presentations with topics ranging from which way the industry should go following the historic decision at ICAO last autumn to the benefits aviation brings, including the role of air transport in emergency aid.

Annie Petsonk from the Environmental Defense Fund said that “dealing with emissions successfully [was] aviation’s license to grow;” challenging and spurring the industry to continue reducing its emissions.

In his keynote speech, Michael Schaffner, the head of unit for air-operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross, reminded us that “rapid airlift is absolutely crucial to delivering aid and equipment to emergency areas,” bringing to mind the vital role played by aviation in emergency situations across the globe.

Brice Lalonde, Special Advisor on Sustainable Development for the United Nations Global Compact named the “greatest benefit of aviation [as] creating the sense of a planet Earth citizenship”.

Meanwhile, CANSO Director General Jeff Poole wanted to know how we get “from a situation where people question the benefits of aviation to a situation where aviation is seen a model for sustainable development?”

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