Aviation industry unites to address environmental issues

February 19, 2009

Twenty aviation organizations, including AOPA, have united to produce a joint industry paper establishing principals and guidelines for addressing environmental issues. The signatories to the paper, titled “ Aviation and Climate Change: The Views of Aviation Industry Stakeholders,” represent all aspects of aviation from light aircraft to the airlines and from airports to air traffic controllers.

The joint paper establishes guiding principles to help frame the discussion and form the foundation of any measures used to address aviation’s role in climate change. It notes that all of aviation is responsible for only about three percent of greenhouse gas emissions. General aviation’s contribution is only a fraction of that figure.

“Our industry is successfully working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and we will be tracking this issue closely to ensure that any plans to address climate change won’t negatively impact general aviation,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. “This paper shows our industry’s commitment to working together and clearly establishes a simple set of principles that will help keep the discussion on track.”

Among the concepts outlined in the paper are the need for any regulatory action to consider both costs and benefits, to establish federal rather than local requirements, and that new regulations be based on sound science and fact.

In addition, the paper identifies numerous ways that government must be involved in the process, starting with supporting industry efforts to find acceptable alternatives to leaded aviation fuel.

“We need the government to be a full partner in this effort, and we need to make sure any plans to transition away from leaded avgas don’t create an undue burden on aircraft owners and operators,” Cebula said.

The paper also asks the government to assist by funding research, modernizing air traffic control, supporting more efficient flight profiles, and investing in ground infrastructure. The document notes that, while positive economic incentives might be useful, fees, charges, and taxes are counterproductive.

“This paper lays the groundwork for all of our efforts going forward and shows just how serious our industry is about this issue,” Cebula said.