Aviation Industry Vows To Cooperate For The Planet

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With Earth Day celebrated around the world on Tuesday, executives from Boeing and Airbus joined together at the third Aviation & Environment Summit, in Geneva, to announce they will work together to create a more efficient air traffic system that will save energy. "I am convinced technology and innovation hold the key to reducing aviation's environmental impact and increasing eco-efficiency," said Airbus CEO Tom Enders. Other aviation leaders at the event joined in signing a declaration on climate change, vowing to work toward carbon-neutral growth and a totally sustainable industry. The declaration is not "just fine words," according to summit organizer Philippe Rochat. "For the first time, the industry can agree on a set of common goals and a pathway to achieve those goals ...[we are devoting] energy, investment and sheer determination to ensure the industry has a sustainable future." Keith Johnson, blogging at The Wall Street Journal, suggests the industry's green agenda may be driven more by economic concerns than environmental ones.

"Airlines got the green bug a few years ago when fuel prices started rising," says Johnson. The summit's four-step plan includes new technologies, including cleaner fuels; better fuel efficiency; more efficient air-traffic management; and "positive economic instruments" to cut greenhouse gasses wherever it's "cost-effective." The summit's declaration calls on governments to help finance these changes -- all of which will also help the airlines' bottom line.