Global airline body International Air Transport Association (IATA) has expressed disappointment over India’s opposition to a global pact for curbing aviation emissions proposed by the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal recently.
“We expressed our disappointment (to the government) that India didn’t come to the table as an early adaptor of the carbon offset and reduction scheme for the aviation sector,” IATA Director General and Chief Executive Officer Alexandre de Juniac told reporters here. Mr. de Juniac met top government officials and airline chief executives in what was his first visit to India after taking over charge as the IATA chief.
“We are disappointed because other developing nations like China, Indonesia, Zambia and Kenya have signed,” he added.
Although 65 countries signed the pact committing to cap emissions at 2020 levels, India and Brazil were among countries that opted out as it felt the deal would be unfair for developing countries where the civil aviation market is not mature and the airlines are limited compared to the developed economies.
India ratified the COP21 accord on climate change in the same week and Mr. de Juniac was “hopeful that the spirit of climate leadership would extend to aviation emissions.”
“We have seen India at the front edge of environment defence policies signing the Paris accord and the Kigali Agreement. So we were expecting India in the front row of environment protection regulation for aviation,” Mr. de Juniac said.
He also pointed out to certain misinterpretations of the climate deal. “It doesn’t apply to domestic traffic and only to the international flights. It is not a punitive tax. It offsets emissions by investing in projects that produce carbon. Like a tax, it attempts to facilitate growth. It’s a license to grow,” the IATA chief pointed out.
According to IATA, India is set to become the third largest aviation market by displacing the UK in 2026. Minister of State Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said earlier this month that the government is examining ways to offset higher emissions from rising aviation traffic.