Ten Sustainable Avaiation Demands

The citizen sustainable aviation movement in the USA is discussing the following Ten Sustainable Aviation Demands as a basis for their policy development program, particularly for the elections of 2008.

#1. Rein back the unsustainable expansion of the National Airspace Redesign (NAR) Program
Being sold as an efficiency and safety program, the NAR program is expansionistic and will reinforce the unbalanced US transportation system in favor of the premium, i.e. expensive mode of air travel. Citizens have to push for the Fifth Alternative, i.e. Doing More with Less, for demand is often a function of capacity. Like the rationing of the limited capacity of the radio spectrum, rationing can be suggested as an approach to limited and reduced air space and airport capacity.

#2. Plan for a US integrated intermodal transportation system (IITS) where preference is given to the less energy intensive and less polluting surface modes of transportation
Citizen Aviation Watch, USA, Inc. is proposing the IITS Initiative, a supplemental $300 billion, 15 year program that would integrate air transportation with an efficient intermodal surface transportation system that includes an expanded and efficient rail system (mostly for freight), a national modern coach network, Maglev, etc. Short-haul air flights would be replaced by fast, not necessarily, high speed trains or maglev.

#3. Include air transportation emissions into any global warming legislation, programs and projects on an equal basis with other industries
No serious headway in reducing global warming gases can be made without reducing the aviation industry’s emissions as is made clear in George Monbiot’s recent book Heat. How to Stop the Planet From Burning.

#4. Recognize the limits rising oil prices will put on demand for air travel as we head towards $100 per barrel in a world where oil production has peaked or will peak soon
Given that air transportation is 4-10 times more energy intensive, high oil prices will inordinately affect the aviation industry

#5. Remove the tax give-aways the aviation industry enjoys
A complete overhaul of subsidies in all forms will push transportation planners towards integrating the premium mode of air travel with the less energy intensive and therefore less polluting modes of surface transportation, which may not be necessarily less expensive.

#6. Reassess air freight which currently pays no special tax as passengers do
Consider not only taxing air freight, but also reducing the amount of air freight by creating opportunities for people and industries to primarily use local resources.

#7. Reduce both the day and night time noise suffered by local communities, as well as the numbers of people affected
Though technically and operationally aircraft noise can be somewhat more reduced, the greatest reduction will come from a reduced number of planes in an integrated intermodal transportation system

#8. Respect the country's biodiversity and heritage, including ancient
woodlands and listed buildings, if airports have to be expanded.
Healthy ecological and social systems are the foundation of quality of human life and of the larger community of life or Earth Community

#9. Revise the economic assessment of the aviation industry
In the interest of well-being of people and planet all industries are to be reassessed by the principles of ecological economics, so that they internalize both social and ecological costs of their operations.

#10. Rethink the "predict & provide" approach put forward by governments and the airframe manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, and Bombardier.
Influenced by the military-industrial complex’ s predict and provide modus operandi, the civil aviation industry is to reassess its link to the military and militarism.


For further information: Frans C. Verhagen, M.
Div., M.I.A., Ph.D., environmental/sustainability sociologist, at www.metronyaviation.org,
www.us-caw.org; gaia1@rcn.com or 718-275-3932. Spring 2007.
These demands were inspired by the UK citizen sustainable aviation
movement www.airportwatch.org