AFRAA's position on the Environment
AFRAA member airlines are committed to continual environmental improvement in all areas. Even though aviation's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is currently no more than 2% of the global emissions, AFRAA member airlines are dedicating billions of dollars to the purchase of new, fuel-efficient aircraft and improving operational performance, which will further reduce aircraft emissions and noise.
AFRAA advocates that as a global industry, aviation requires global solutions developed through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
AFRAA encourages the use of voluntary initiatives to address environmental impacts from aviation and promotes the use of industry best practices where possible. Voluntary initiatives can be tailored to the specific needs of governments, industry and other stakeholders. They can provide more flexibility and cost savings than regulatory measures.
AFRAA recognises that climate change is among the major global challenges facing society today. The African aviation industry is ready to play its part in alleviating the effects of climate change. The industry has a long-standing commitment to improving fuel efficiency and, therefore, reducing their carbon footprint. Today, airlines carry more traffic per litre of jet fuel than ever before. The AFRAA member airlines continue their strong commitment to protecting the environment, improving efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our commitment supports a global sectorial approach to aviation climate change policy under the International Civil Aviation Organization, and promotes critical technology, air traffic management, energy and infrastructure advances.
Taxes and Charges
AFRAA does not advocate the use of charges and taxes as their impact on the environment is unclear. Specifically, taxes and charges tend to take away funds from airlines that could be invested in new fuel efficient aircraft and other newer cleaner technologies. Since taxes and charges seek to reduce emissions through a reduction in demand for air transport services, they undermine the huge social and economic benefits derived from aviation in promoting trade, tourism and cultural exchanges especially in Africa where alternative surface transport infrastructure is poor in many states.
AFRAA aims to continually promote and enhance the role of aviation on the continent recognising the significant contribution aviation can make to long-term sustainable growth aimed at balancing economic prosperity, social responsibility and environmental conservation.
Local Air Quality
Aircraft emissions are controlled through stringent emission limits on aircraft engines. African airlines constantly strive to reduce their carbon footprint and, compared to other modes of transportation, commercial aviation results in significantly less overall emissions. Through emission limits, infrastructure and operational improvements, and ground support equipment, AFRAA members continue to address the local air quality impacts of aviation.
The efforts of the aviation industry to reduce its noise impact are often undermined by inappropriate land-use management. In particular, in spite of an actual reduction of total noise emissions, urban encroachment around some airports has resulted in an increase in the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise.
Airports can also make a difference by implementing measures such as optimizing the airport design to reduce taxiing times; providing cleaner ground service equipment and vehicles and using energy efficient systems for heating and lighting.
AFRAA follows up and lobbies on regulatory, political and technical developments associated with the environment. Furthermore AFRAA assesses the optimal means to safeguard the common interests of member airlines within this context. AFRAA's main focus areas of action are as follows:
• Awareness: to constantly follow up on environmental developments associated with aviation and distribution of such information to member carriers.
• Policy: to work with various relevant stakeholders to try to reach a global scheme to avoid the individual schemes imposed by states or regions and secure within any global scheme certain principles that protect the interests of member airlines.
• Solutions: to seek and recommend cost effective solutions to member airlines for their compliance with international environmental regulations issued from time to time, for example the EU ETS.
• Advocacy: to lobby on various levels the positions and resolutions announced by UNFCCC and ICAO, with the cooperation of AFCAC, IATA and other regional associations to protect the common interests of member airlines under any scheme for the reduction of aviation emissions.