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Tony Tyler (IATA): Russia-Europe relationship is strategically important for global aviation

Remarks of Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at EU-Russia Aviation Summit, St. Petersburg, October 12nd 2011

Thank you to Minister Levitin for the kind invitation to address you today on behalf of IATA’s more than 230 member airlines which perform the majority of commercial air services in Russia, Europe and globally.

The Russia-Europe relationship is strategically important for global aviation. Combined, Europe and Russia account for about 37% of global traffic capacity and control a critical portion of the world’s airspace. What happens in these two markets has a great impact on global aviation -operationally, commercially and from a policy perspective.

Global air transport was built on global standards. Governments and industry have worked closely together with the common purpose of linking the world -safely, securely, efficiently and with the highest level of environmental responsibility. It is in that spirit that I offer these comments today.

The most meaningful conclusion that can come from this summit is to re-emphasize the importance of Russian and European leadership in the development of aviation based on global standards. My message to you is that the industry -through IATA- is a ready partner that is here to help.

Of course the top priority is always safety. It is a constant challenge for carriers in every part of the world. Working with airlines operating Western-built jets and more modern Russian equipment, the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) has contributed to a big improvement  in Russia’s safety performance. Of course, IOSA carries no guarantees. But none of the 14 Russian IOSA carriers has had a fatal accident since registration. I believe that this is more than a coincidence.

We are eager to work with the government to further integrate this standard into Russian aviation, along with our safety audit for ground operations – ISAGO.

Infrastructure in Russia also needs major upgrades to support both safe and efficient operations. As users of the system, we stand ready to provide our expertise to ensure that these investments deliver the best value for the investments that are required.

Alongside safety is security. IATA is championing a Checkpoint of the Future concept that will make airport screening processes both more effective and more convenient. This will work best as part of a global system. I am encouraged by the support from the US and the EU. I hope that Russia will soon join the growing list of countries endorsing this concept.

There is also scope to work together to ensure a level commercial playing field. Protectionism or isolationism is never a long-term solution for a healthy industry.

IATA’s Simplifying the Business program is a good example. Minister Levitin’s personal intervention changed legislation that facilitated e-ticketing. This ensured that Russian carriers received their share of the $3 billion annual savings resulting from the removal of paper tickets. We encourage the Russian government to adopt the Montreal Convention 1999 so that e-freight can bring similar benefits to Russia’s fast-growing cargo industry.

And finally, I encourage Russia-Europe cooperation on environment – a global problem that needs a global solution. Industry is playing its part having committed to improve fuel efficiency 1.5% annually to 2020; cap net carbon emissions from 2020 and cut them in half by 2050 (compared to 2005 levels). Our interest is in reducing emissions to ensure the industry’s long-term license to grow. The best results will come if governments cooperate globally to facilitate our success with coordinated measures under the leadership of the International Civil Aviation Organization – ICAO. I hope that this summit will be an opportunity to identify solutions to the growing rift between Europe and the rest of the world as a result of its unilateral approach to including international aviation in its emissions trading scheme from next year.

We live in a global community made possible by air transport. This year 2.8 billion people and 46 million tonnes of cargo will travel by air. This mobility supports 33 million jobs and $3.5 trillion in economic activity. The wealth -material and of the human spirit- that is created by this makes air transport a force for good in our world. This fact should unite industry and policy-makers in a common mission to facilitate aviation’s success. We look forward to working with Russia and Europe to ensure the continued safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible development of global air links.

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