The International Air Transport Association (Iata) raised a number of important issues at the recent International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) fortieth (triennial) assembly, in Montreal, Canada. Iata is the representative body of the world’s commercial aviation (airline and air freight) industry, while ICAO (a specialised agency of the United Nations) is the global intergovernmental body which oversees civil aviation worldwide in terms of codifying and coordinating the procedures and principles of international air travel.
Iata had six priorities it urged the ICAO member States to address. Some of these were jointly presented with aviation stakeholders. These issues were to support the industry’s efforts to reduce its effect on climate change; to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UASes), popularly called drones, into civilian airspace management; to ensure that passengers with disabilities experience a global, consistent approach when travelling by air; to put in place an international legal framework to deal with unruly passengers; to establish passenger identification measures that are convenient and modern; and, to make global navigation satellite systems less vulnerable to damaging interference.
Regarding climate change, ICAO reached agreement three years ago on the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for Civil Aviation (Corsia) agreement, which was supported by Iata. “Today, Corsia is a reality, with airlines tracking their emissions,” highlighted Iata director-general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. “Unfortunately, there is a real risk that Corsia will be undermined by governments piling on additional carbon pricing instruments. They are branded ‘green taxes’, but we have yet to see any funds allocated to actually reducing carbon emissions. Corsia was agreed as the single global economic measure to achieve carbon-neutral growth by generating $40-billion in climate funding and offsetting about 2.5-billion [metric] tons of carbon dioxide between 2021 and 2035.” Iata would like ICAO to reaffirm Corsia.
“By 2023, drone operations in the US alone could triple, according to some estimates. And the general trend is the same worldwide,” he stressed, while addressing the issue of UASes. “The challenge is to achieve this potential safely. The safety of civil aviation is the model. Industry and governments must work in partnership on the global standards and innovations needed to safely achieve the tremendous potential of drones.”
Concerning passengers with disabilities, Iata’s members are committed to enhancing their air travel experiences. “With ageing populations, the number of people with disabilities travelling is growing and will continue to do so,” he pointed out. “To travel with confidence, they rely on consistent measures applied globally. And a harmonised global framework is equally essential for airlines to serve their customers with disabilities in a safe, secure, efficient and consistent manner.”
Unruly passengers aboard airliners are a growing problem. The procedures for dealing with such passengers were modernised by the Montreal Protocol of 2014 (MP14), but most countries have not yet ratified this. “No passenger or crew member should be subject to insult, threats or abuse from another air traveller,” he emphasised. “And the safety of flight should never be endangered by passenger behaviour. Adoption of MP14 will ensure that States have the necessary powers to deal with unruly passengers, irrespective of where the aircraft is registered.”
Regarding passenger identification, Iata has been urging ICAO to expedite the development of biometric technologies for air passenger recognition. Iats’s own vision concerning passenger security is called ‘One ID’, which focuses on “identity management” and biometric identification systems. “Air travellers have told us that they are willing to share personal information if it removes some of the hassle from air travel, as long as that information is kept secure and not misused,” reported De Juniac. “One ID is the way of the future and we need to accelerate progress.”