“The aviation industry’s goals for CO2 emissions reduction are ambitious but achievable with the right government support,” insists Gittens.
“For airports’ part, we are diligently working towards a more environmentally sustainable future for the industry.
"ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, which late last year went global and now has 128 airport participants worldwide, is perhaps the best example of our united commitment on this front.
As well, ACI’s do-it-yourself airport carbon inventory tool, ACERT, is now available in version 3.0 and can be used across all accreditation levels with a focus on helping smaller airports join the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.
“As a founding member of ATAG, ACI realises that environmental stewardship is a top priority for the continued sustainable development of aviation.
“We urge governments to work in parallel with the sector not only for the good of the industry, but also for the good of the planet.”
Her rallying call follows this week's move by ACI and a group of 27 other aviation industry chief executive officers and association leaders to send an open letter to governments committing to climate action and calling for a joint approach to help deliver maximum CO2 emissions reductions in the aviation sector.
In particular, the industry group urged action to approve a meaningful market-based measure for aviation emissions, expected to be agreed by governments at a meeting of the United Nations specialised aviation agency in one year’s time.
Aviation was the first transport sector which set global goals to proactively manage its climate change impact in 2008.
These goals include capping net CO2 emissions from 2020 through a global market-based measure being developed at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and a longer-term goal to reduce net CO2 emissions from aviation to half of 2005 levels by 2050.
Michael Gill, executive director of the cross-industry coalition Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), which co-ordinated the letter, says: “This is an influential set of business leaders adding their voice to those supporting climate action in the lead-up to the COP21 negotiations in Paris and one year ahead of aviation’s own climate deadline – the 39th ICAO Assembly.
"We are urging governments to back industry and civil society efforts to deliver this market-based measure.
“Since we set the goals, the aviation sector has been actively undertaking fuel efficiency projects through the deployment of over a trillion dollars of new technology, improved operational procedures and moving towards more advanced infrastructure.
However, government regulation and national political environments prevent us from fully influencing our own future. Today’s letter urges government action in five key areas to complement the significant action already taking place within the industry.”
The letter says that to maximise already impressive aviation action, “government support must take place through a range of actions".
These include air traffic management investment and reform; continued support for research into new technology, operations and sustainable alternative fuels; improved intermodal transport planning; the right policy framework to help accelerate the availability of sustainable alternative fuels for airlines.
The aviation industry adds that it is imperative that at the 39th ICAO Assembly governments agree 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," it says.
The open letter, 60 days before the crucial COP21 climate talks in Paris, was signed by the chief executives of all the world’s major aircraft and engine manufacturers and leaders of associations representing over 90% of airline traffic, and 1,850 airports and air traffic management organizations supporting 85% of traffic.
In total, the organisations represent businesses with nearly a trillion dollars in annual revenue and over four million employees worldwide.
The industry has been meeting with government and civil society representatives at the Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva, Switzerland.