Geneva – Aviation industry experts will gather in Geneva, Switzerland tomorrow for the Global Sustainable Aviation Summit. Around 250 delegates from 50 countries are representing the industry, governments and civil society at the talks which aim to provide a long-term view of the growth of air transport around the world. The Summit is coordinated by the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), which coordinates aviation sustainability policy.

Of particular interest to observers is the progress of discussions on how the industry will tackle its climate change impacts, coming only months after significant developments took place at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the UN agency responsible for aviation. Representatives of governments and the industry will provide their views of the technical and political challenges which will need to be overcome in order to meet the 2016 deadline for implementation of a global market-based measure for the aviation industry.

Incoming ATAG executive director Michael Gill explains that the ICAO talks were a milestone for the industry, “At this very Summit in 2008, the aviation sector joined forces to outline a plan for dealing with CO2 emissions from air transport. The result of last year’s ICAO Assembly – where governments agreed to develop a global market-based measure for aviation – was the first significant step along the road to meeting our ambitious targets. Now, work is taking place to design such a scheme and the industry is fully supportive of these efforts. The Global Sustainable Aviation Summit will be looking at some of the options on the table.”

Delegates to the Summit will also discuss the importance of government and industry partnerships, aviation’s sustainable development goals and preparing for growth.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of commercial airlines. Since that first flight in 1914, we have carried over 65 billion passengers. Based on current growth trends, the next 65 billion will take flight before 2030. It’s an extraordinary rate of growth for any industry and will yield significant economic benefits for economies worldwide – particularly in the emerging and developing world where much of the growth will take place. But with fortune comes responsibility – and this week’s Summit will look at how we in the industry can work with governments to ensure that the economic and social benefits of air transport can be shared by all, with a careful regard to our environmental responsibility.”