Wed, Jun 07, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Airlines reiterate support for globalization, climate

CORSIA:IATA said carriers would stand by an industry emissions accord, even as US President Donald Trump breaks with a global climate agreement signed last year

Reuters, CANCUN, Mexico

International airlines on Monday made a full-throated defense of globalization at their largest annual gathering, vowing not to give up on climate change agreements and calling for a swift resolution of a diplomatic rift threatening air travel in the Middle East.

Missing from the general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Mexico was Qatar Airways Co CEO Akbar al-Baker. Usually a star of the show, he appeared to have left the summit amid a dispute between Arab powers.

Asked about Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s move to ban Qatari airplanes from their airports and airspace, IATA director-general Alexandre de Juniac called for openness.

“We would like borders to be reopened, the sooner the better,” he told reporters, expanding on earlier remarks in the opening session.

“Aviation is globalization at its very best,” he had told executives from IATA’s more than 200 member airlines. “As aviation’s leaders, we must bear witness to the achievements of our connected world.”

Qatar Airways could not be reached for comment.

The Arab rift was a stark reminder of the political risks to the airlines, which have run up healthy profits even as the global consensus they rely upon comes under the threat of nationalist and protectionist political currents.

Forecasting a third straight year of robust earnings, IATA on Monday raised its industry profit outlook for this year to US$31.4 billion, up from a previous forecast of US$29.8 billion.

IATA also raised its outlook for this year’s industry revenue from US$736 billion to US$743 billion on expectations that the global economy will post its strongest growth in six years.

The forecast underscored a new golden age for airlines’ profitability, even as carriers scramble to meet fast-changing electronics restrictions, pressure to limit emissions and unprecedented scrutiny on social media over their every mistake.

A UN representative urged airline leaders to stand by an industry emissions accord known as CORSIA even as US President Donald Trump breaks with a climate pact struck in Paris last year.

“We need to promote implementation of this historic agreement,” International Civil Aviation Organization president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said.

De Juniac said the airlines would hold fast to their commitments.

“The very disappointing decision of the US to withdraw from Paris is not a setback for CORSIA,” he told the meeting. “We remain united behind CORSIA and our climate change goals.”

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top