Air transport a key sector in supporting sustainable development globally


Organisations from across the air transport sector today reminded governments of the important role that air transport can play in national and regional sustainable development planning. Governments are meeting in Montreal for the 40th session of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly.

Presenting a joint industry working paper on the topic, Air Transport Action Group Executive Director Michael Gill said: “In addition to the 65.5 million jobs currently supported by aviation, the connectivity provided by rapid, modern and safe transport systems helps to build business opportunities, bring together families and connect communities around the world. With the growth in air transport expected to support almost 100 million jobs by 2036, there are very real benefits that come from backing a robust aviation system, including support for most of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“At the same time, we must always be mindful of the impact that aviation activity has on citizens and the planet. Working with authorities to ensure robust land-use planning around airports, cooperative approaches to route and tourism development, policy support for air traffic management improvements and the deployment of sustainable aviation fuels are all key to ensuring we can continue to provide benefits to the economy and society, whilst reducing our environmental impact.”

Director General of Airports Council International, Angela Gittens, said: “Airports, as a key part of the aviation industry, play a vital role in facilitating economic and social prosperity in the local, regional and national communities they serve by fostering sustainable development. If aviation is to continue generating growth and jobs, improving living standards, and alleviating poverty, however, we must renew our dedication to sustainability. We continue to work with ICAO, ATAG and our partners towards significantly reducing environmental impacts.”

Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation Director General Simon Hocquard said: “The air traffic management (ATM) industry is continuing to develop measures to improve the efficiency of aviation and support safe, seamless and sustainable air transport. From implementing new operational procedures to adopting the latest technologies, the ATM industry has an important role to play in reducing flying time and fuel burn, and building a strong and agile global transport network for the future. We will continue to work with ICAO and our industry partners in doing this, collaboratively developing the necessary national and regional sustainable development plans to facilitate it.”

Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association, said: “Aviation is a business with clear purpose – safely and efficiently connecting people and goods over the greatest of distances. Flying is the business of freedom and it provides foundational support to many of the UN SDGs. As we see in economies of all stages of development, flying makes the world a more prosperous place. And we are working hard to ensure we do that sustainably.”

The Director General of the International Business Aviation Council, Kurt Edwards, added: “Aviation connects the world, even the most remote locations.  It is critical to the sustainable economic development of all regions, allowing communities to thrive wherever they are.  Yet as aviation grows to meet these demands, the industry continues simultaneously to mitigate its environmental impacts through new technologies and greater efficiency”.

Chair of the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations, Eric Fanning, said: “Aviation connects our world, powers our economies, and expands our horizons. We stand on the edge of significant transformation, from drone deliveries to air taxis. As we move forward with these technologies, we must expand government partnerships to ensure all states can realize the benefits these innovations will bring”.