ATAG 2016 Speech: Kurt Edwards, IBAC

Environmental Climate solutions

This is the speech given by Kurt Edwards, Director General of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) at the 2016 ATAG Global Sustainable Aviation Forum.

We all agree that air transport is an important, dynamic and diverse industry that brings significant benefits all around the world.  It’s an industry that consistently strives to be more efficient and reduce its environmental impact.  This balance — between economic and environmental benefits — is a fundamental matter underpinning ICAO’s work on a global market-based measure.

You’ve all received today the Global Summary of Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders. I’d like to highlight some of its key points regarding the importance of air transport to the world economy. 62.7 million jobs are supported by aviation worldwide. Aviation makes a USD 2.7 trillion contribution to the global economy.

Overall, aviation activity around the world supports 3.5 percent of global GDP, and air transport facilitated the movement of more than 3.5 billion passengers in 2015 as well as 35 percent of world trade by value.

And it contributes two percent of human-made carbon emissions.

What do all these figures mean?

They show that aviation is a key, global connectivity agent. International aviation brings commerce, economic development, and cultural exchange and understanding. It keeps families and friends connected, and it provides important assistance in times of disaster and crisis. And while high-profile, aviation contributes a relatively small amount of carbon emissions.

Nonetheless, the aviation industry’s objectives coincide with our globally shared environmental objectives. We all want to fly more efficiently, use less fuel, and release fewer emissions.

You will hear shortly from Angela Gittens about the goals set by the industry for itself and from David Melcher about the progress to date via the “basket of measures”, including technology.

As States work through ICAO to establish a global MBM as part of the approach to tackle climate change, the industry’s demonstrated willingness to contribute as well as its roles as generator and facilitator of global economic activity must be kept in the forefront of ICAO’s efforts.

The business aviation community is doing its part to contribute. We have improved annual fuel efficiency with the short-term goal.

Moreover, business aircraft tend to be the first to test cutting-edge technologies that have environmental benefits: lighter materials, more advanced avionics, and winglets. In fact, the first jet aircraft to be designed with winglets was the Lear 28, unveiled in 1977.

We are committed as well to participating in a global MBM that is administratively simple, recognizes the diverse range of international aircraft operators, and is fair. It’s important to note that there are more than 17,000 business aircraft operators, with an average fleet size of 1.5 aircraft.