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The International Air Transport Association may propose measures to cut emissions from airlines, a step that could help a global deal on tackling pollution by the industry, a senior European Union official said.

IATA is expected to announce its proposal next week at its annual general meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, said Jos Delbeke, director general for climate at the European Commission. The aviation industry is seeking an international solution to curb greenhouse gases from airlines after it condemned the inclusion of foreign flights in the EU emissions- trading system last year.

“I’m going to be in Cape Town next week where IATA will make a number of important decisions on carbon reductions,” Delbeke said in a May 29 interview in Barcelona. “We don’t know the detail of it, but the industry may be more forthcoming compared to what we anticipated two years ago.”

After the expansion of the EU cap-and-trade program abroad caused industry and diplomatic reverberations in countries from Russia and China to Mexico, Europe decided to defer the imposition of carbon curbs on flights into and out of the bloc. The aim of the freeze was to facilitate talks on a global deal to reduce pollution from airlines in the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization.

“There is such a wide array of measures that countries may take so the private industry would like to make a proposal that could then be input to the ICAO process,” Delbeke said in the interview during the Carbon Expo conference. “It could be quite a significant contribution by the private sector to what ICAO could do.”

Aviation Leaders

About 700 aviation leaders will gather in Cape Town for the IATA meeting and the World Air Transport Summit on June 2-4, the association said in a statement yesterday. They will discuss issues including environment, safety, distribution and finance, according to IATA.

Anthony Concil, a spokesman for IATA, referred to remarks made at a meeting of the Air Transport Action Group on May 13 in Montreal by IATA director general Tony Tyler, in which he said the group would be calling on its membership to “balance their individual short-term interests with the long-term future of the industry as a whole.”

Montreal-based IATA represents 240 airlines worldwide, comprising 84 percent of global air traffic. Members include Deutsche Lufthansa AG, British Airways, Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Delta Air Lines Inc.

“The importance of IATA’s proposal could be that for the first time we could see a sectoral agreement kicked off by an initiative from industry, that then has to be encapsulated by regulators,” Delbeke said.

With assistance from Kari Lundgren in Johannesburg. Editors: Andrew Reierson and Matthew Brown.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ewa Krukowska in Barcelona at; Alessandro Vitelli in Barcelona at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at

Tags: iata