IATA takes a positive stand

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

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I applaud the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for an outstanding initiative at London Heathrow Airport (it may be at other airports too).

Travelling through Terminal 5 en route to Hong Kong International Airport and Macau for the 2009 Trinity Forum, I spotted a highly visible IATA booth in the landside departures hall.

The booth presents IATA’s position on CO2 emissions and what the aviation industry is doing about them. IATA says it plans to derive 10% of its fuel consumption from alternative sources by 2017. The display offers the latest information on bio-fuels and fuel efficiency development, in general.

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“Technology is the solution,” says IATA. “Each year airlines fly 2.2 million people and support 32 million jobs and US$3.2 trillion in economic activity. How do we keep the social and economic benefits of air transport while eliminating its impact on the environment? Carbon neutral growth by 2020.”

In 2008 IATA’s work saved nearly 15 million tonnes of CO2 emissions through fuel efficiency and more efficient engines. A lot more needs to be done to ensure an ultimately carbon free future. But by taking the message to the people IATA is showing that it is serious in its aims and it is willing to confront its critics in a positive, pro-active manner. The display is high profile and brilliantly positioned – full marks to IATA.

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I’d love to see the travel retail industry plot a similar initiative. Why not counter all those criticisms that some pundits – and many consumers – make about the sector’s alleged lack of value? Why does the industry have to be so anonymous? Why not point out how much the travel retail channel contributes to the funding of aviation infrastructure and to good causes around the world?

There are so many positive aspects to our industry that consumers are not aware of. And we actually have a much easier tale to tell than the aviation industry does. Perhaps it’s time to start our own road show.

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