Iata has hailed a “landmark” deal on climate change reached at the close of the 38th annual assembly of the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao).

The agreement on Friday commits Icao to developing a global market-based measure that is being seen be an “essential enabler” for the industry to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020.

The market-based measure complements progress on improving technology, operations and infrastructure in a four-pronged strategy to manage aviation’s climate change impact. 

Iata director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said: “Aviation – through the stewardship of Icao – has achieved the first-ever global deal to curb an industry’s emissions.”

But he admitted: “Reaching this landmark agreement among Icao’s 191 member states was a challenging task.

“Industry, civil society and governments have worked hard to reach this point and keep aviation at the forefront of industries managing their climate change impact.

“Now we have a strong mandate and a short three-year time frame to sort out the details. Airlines need and want a global market-based measure.

“We are eager to get on with the detailed work needed to design the global scheme in time for finalisation at the 2016 assembly.

“Today was a great day for aviation, for the effort against climate change and for global standards and international cooperation.”

Iata’s 240 members passed a resolution in June asking governments to develop a global mandatory carbon offsetting scheme. The industry believes that this will be the most effective and efficient market-based measure to implement.