The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Commission recently agreed to combine efforts on research involving airlines and the environment. The accord, appropriately dubbed AIRE (for Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions), does nothing to settle the dispute over the European Union's proposal to cap carbon emissions and force all airlines operating to and from Europe to participate in a market-based emissions trading scheme by 2011.
Nevertheless, the mutually beneficial pact provides a foundation for aviation interests on both sides of the Atlantic to work together on ongoing research with the dual goal of aiding the environment and making air transportation more efficient. AIRE could also serve as an example of mutual cooperation on future trade issues.
For the air cargo industry, which has long depended on older aircraft, AIRE conceivably brings a bit more time to become, well, more environmentally friendly.
"Our position is that we can't stick our heads in the sand and address the environmental issues," says Steve Alterman, president of the Cargo Airline Association, which supports AIRE as a responsible first step by governments and airlines to help reduce the carbon footprint of aircraft.
As for EU's emissions trading scheme, Alterman echoed the sentiments of many in the air cargo industry. "Anyone who thinks emissions trading will do anything significant to reducing pollution is wrong," says Alterman. The only way to "solve the problem" is reduce emissions at the source, he says.
Source: Air Cargo World, http://www.aircargoworld.com
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