As the 40th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) begins today in Montreal, Canada, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has expressed high expectations from the assembly as it encouraged member states to continue to support the industry’s efforts to address its climate change impacts.
According to IATA, the industry’s agenda also includes: the safe integration of drones into airspace management , establishing a globally consistent approach to passengers with disabilities, implementing an international legal framework to manage the issue of unruly passengers , implementing modern and convenient measures for passenger identification, and reducing the vulnerability of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) to harmful interference.
“Three years ago, ICAO member states achieved an historic agreement to implement a Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The whole aviation industry welcomed this significant commitment as part of the overall approach to meaningfully mitigate the industry’s climate change impact. Today, CORSIA is a reality with airlines tracking their emissions. 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. CORSIA was agreed as the single global economic measure to achieve carbon-neutral growth by generating $40 billion in climate funding and offsetting around 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 between 2021 and 2035. Governments need to focus on making that commitment a success,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
IATA, in cooperation with Airports Council International (ACI), the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA), coordinated by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) submitted a working paper that, among other things, calls on governments to:
- Reaffirm the importance of CORSIA at the ICAO Assembly
- Participate in CORSIA from the voluntary period before it becomes mandatory in 2027
- Reaffirm that CORSIA is “the market-based measure applying to CO2 emissions from international aviation,” and
- Stick to the principle that aviation’s international emissions should be accounted for only once, with no duplication.
Safe and Efficient Integration of UAS (drones) into Airspace
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS, also known as drones), have tremendous potential, including for door-to-door cargo shipments, urban air mobility and delivery of emergency supplies and medicines in remote areas. However, an absolute pre-requisite is their safe and efficient integration into airspace being used for the transportation of passengers.
“By 2023, drone operations in the US alone could triple according to some estimates. And the general trend is the same worldwide. 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,” said de Juniac.
IATA, in cooperation with CANSO and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA) submitted a working paper calling on states to work together through ICAO and in cooperation with industry to develop provisions for these airspace new entrants.
Passengers with Disabilities
The airline industry is committed to improving the air travel experience for the estimated one billion people living with disabilities worldwide. Airlines reaffirmed this commitment in a resolution at IATA’s 2019 Annual General Meeting. However, the industry’s ability to ensure that passengers living with disability can travel safely and with dignity–in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities–is being undermined by a steady increase in national/regional disability policies that are either not harmonized or are in direct conflict with each other.
“With aging populations, the number of people traveling with disabilities is growing and will continue to do so. To travel with confidence, they rely on consistent measures applied globally. And a harmonized global framework is equally essential for airlines to serve their customers with disabilities in a safe, secure, efficient and consistent manner,” said de Juniac. Furthermore, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for targeted actions related to persons with disabilities by businesses, including in the transport sector.
IATA has submitted a working paper asking states to reaffirm that a harmonized approach to the work on accessibility in aviation is a contributor to the achievement of the UN SDGs. It also recommends that ICAO develop a work program on accessibility for passengers with disabilities that includes a review of relevant ICAO standards and recommended practices and policy manuals, with due consideration to the IATA core principles on disabled passengers.
With reports of unruly passengers rising steadily, IATA, IFALPA and the International Transport Workers’ Federation, submitted a working paper urging states to ratify the Montreal Protocol of 2014 (MP14) which modernizes international procedures for dealing with unruly passengers. The working paper also calls on governments to avail themselves of the latest ICAO guidance on legal aspects of dealing with disruptive passengers.
MP14 addresses gaps in existing international agreements that mean disruptive passengers rarely face prosecution for their misbehavior. Twenty-two states have to ratify MP14 to bring it into force, which is expected to occur before the end of this year. However, to ensure uniformity and certainty, widespread ratification is needed.
“Incidents of unruly passengers are unfortunately a growing problem and they are always unacceptable. No passenger or crewmember should be subject to insult, threats or abuse from another air traveler. And the safety of flight should never be endangered by passenger behavior. Adoption of MP14 will ensure that states have the necessary powers to deal with unruly passengers irrespective of where the aircraft is registered,” said de Juniac.
IATA’s vision is to lead the industry in delivering an end-to-end passenger experience that is secure, seamless and efficient. One ID uses identity management and biometric recognition to streamline the passenger journey. In doing so, One ID will free the process of paper documentation and enable passengers to move through various airport processes with a single travel token that is accepted by all stakeholders involved in the passenger’s journey.
“Air travelers 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. In addition to benefits for travelers, One ID will make it hard for individuals to cross borders under a false identity, and thus help combat human trafficking and other cross-border criminal activities. It will help to reduce queues and crowds in more vulnerable airport landside areas. And it enables the possibility of risk-based assessment and differentiated handling at border and security checkpoints. One ID is the way of the future and we need to accelerate progress,” said de Juniac.
In partnership with ACI, IATA introduced a working paper requesting the ICAO Council to continue to develop a global policy and technical specifications supporting the use of biometric recognition in aviation. The working paper also encourages states to support initiatives which contribute to the enhancement of global standards ensuring the secure interchange of passenger digital identify information among stakeholders. It invites states to explore the benefits of biometric recognition to secure and facilitate the passenger process.
Addressing Harmful Interference to GNSS
The global navigation satellite system (GNSS) provides essential position and timing information supporting flight and air traffic management (ATM) operations. However, a number of reports have been received of harmful interference to GNSS. IATA, the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) and IFALPA submitted a working paper asking the Assembly to take appropriate mitigation measures to reduce the vulnerability of GNSS to interference and to ensure appropriate frequency regulations are in place and maintained to protect allocated GNSS frequencies.
In addition to these subjects, IATA and aviation stakeholders submitted working papers on a wide-range of other issues including human trafficking, trafficking in wildlife, safety information sharing, cyber security, pandemics, air traffic management infrastructure, security and airport slots, among others.
The ICAO Assembly is a triennial event that opens on 24 September 2019 in Montreal with delegates from ICAO’s 193 member states deliberating on some of the global air transport industry’s most pressing issues until the Assembly closes on 4 October.