Aviation industry bodies have welcomed a new deal aimed at cutting global airline emissions although environmentalists argue not enough is being done.

ICAO member states reached agreement last week on a new global market-based measure to address CO2 emissions from international aviation.

British Airline Pilots’ Association general secretary Brian Strutton, said:

“Pilots welcome these groundbreaking steps to make aviation more sustainable and less impactful on the environment.

“The fact that airlines voluntarily agreed to the deal shows that aviation is taking environmental issues seriously.

“By supporting worldwide environmental goals the aviation industry ensures it can continue to thrive while reducing the overall impact air travel has on CO2 emissions.”

The European Regional Airlines Association is to discuss the implications of the ICAO agreement on the future of the European emissions trading scheme (ETS) at its annual meeting on Thursday (October 3).

ERAA director general Simon McNamara said: “After several years of hard work, ICAO member states have agreed a landmark agreement on international aviation emissions and they are to be congratulated on that.

“It is something that the industry, including Era, has been supporting. We are now looking at the detail of the agreement to understand its implications on the future of the EU ETS for aviation, and will be discussing the matter with our members at our upcoming AGM where we will be releasing a detailed position with our views on the future of the EU ETS for aviation.”

But environmental lobby group Transport & Environment described the decision to offset but not reduce CO2 emissions from aircraft on a voluntary basis as a weak start.

The deal’s coverage of emissions falls well short of the ‘carbon neutral growth in 2020’ target promised by ICAO and the industry, and the lack of clear rules for offsets presents a clear risk to the measure’s environmental effectiveness, according to T&E.

T&E aviation director Bill Hemmings said: “Airline claims that flying will now be green are a myth.

“Taking a plane is the fastest and cheapest way to fry the planet and this deal won’t reduce demand for jet fuel one drop. Instead offsetting aims to cut emissions in other industries.”