IATA Launches New Sustainability ProgramBy Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Thu, 07/29/2021 - 11:56
This week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) launched an environmental sustainability training program alongside the University of Geneva (UNIGE). Sustainability is increasingly being prioritized by the aviation industry in Mexico and abroad; the COVID-19 pandemic only made it more important.
In its survey for Aviation Workforce Skills and Training, IATA identified sustainability as one of the top training needs for the sector. “Ensuring that all those working in this industry are given the opportunity to acquire these new skillsets is essential, as we increasingly place more emphasis on making our operations more sustainable while rebuilding from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Willie Walsh, Director General of IATA. Through its new training program, employees will learn the technical, operational and soft skills necessary to implement sustainability practices in the industry, explained IATA through a press release.
What About Mexico?
Mexico has taken significant strides in the development of green fuels for the aviation industry. The country has launched a Sustainable Aviation Fuels Initiative (ICSA-MEX) that aims to enforce the development of a national supply chain for sustainable aviation fuels. SAFI-MEX incorporates airlines, such as Air France and Aeroméxico, and industry associations like the National Chamber of Air Transport (CANAERO), among other large industry players, explained Maud Oostenbrink, Commercial Director Mexico at Air France-KLM & Vice-President Advisory Board for Holland House Mexico, to MBN.
“Among the objectives for SAFI-MEX is to seek agreements with operators to include at least 2 percent of SAF in their total jet fuel usage by 2024 and the construction of four bio-refineries near the airports of Mexico City, Guadalajara, Cancun and Monterrey,” said Oostenbrink. These goals go hand in hand with the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDG), particularly with Goals 7, 12 and 13. Goal Number 7 aims to ensure access to sustainable energy, Goal Number 12 to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns and Goal Number 13 to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact.
The initiative, however, has been hampered after Mexico’s government shifted its priorities. SAFI-MEX “was initially to be funded by the Mexican government and the original agreement included government subsidies worth US$18 million, most of which was destined to SAF. However, austerity policies of the new administration have put a hold on contributions,” said Oostenbrink.