Speaking at a World Economic Forum (WEF) Policy Session on “Building a Path to Net-Zero Aviation” yesterday, ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu highlighted opportunities now at hand to enhance the sustainability and resilience of the global civil aviation sector.
Dr. Liu’s remarks were part of the lively series of exchanges with other invited panelists including the Hon. Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport for the United Kingdom, Dick Benschop, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Schiphol Group, and Grazia Vittadini, Chief. Technology Officer, Airbus.
The goal of the sessions was to gather perspectives across the aviation value-chain on key challenges and priorities, review the commitment to cross-sector collaboration and calls to action to drive quick, deliberate, strategic, and equitable sustainability goals throughout air travel, and to highlight the role of collaborative mechanisms in enabling aviation’s net-zero transition.
Dr. Liu noted that the recent calls by UN Secretary-General Guterres to “build a sustainable system driven by renewable energy, green jobs, and a resilient future” have been met with motivation by both governments and the air transport industry, leading to discussions such as those which took place at ICAO’s recent Innovation Symposium on hybrid, electric, and hydrogen propulsion, battery energy density and increased sustainable aviation fuels deployment.
The Secretary General highlighted the central role ICAO can play to encourage the partnerships these advances require, and that the transition towards post-COVID period is providing aviation with a tremendous opportunity to accelerate the transition toward a decarbonized future.
“States, manufacturers, airlines, airports, all stakeholders have their parts to play and responsibility to accelerate the transition of aviation toward its decarbonized future,” Dr. Liu said, while noting that “a global policy under ICAO is crucial because this is the only way to ensure the success of this global transition that needs to take place, while leaving no country behind and avoiding distortion of competition.”
Dr. Liu also noted that the potential structural changes ahead could result in different aviation business models, platforms, and diversified products and services being needed to meet the expectations of post-pandemic leisure and business travellers in the “new normal”…