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April 22, 2008A spirit of innovation and experimentation around the world is key to realizing gains in environmental performance in the aviation industry, AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said Tuesday. Addressing the Air Transportation Action Group Aviation and Environment Summit, Blakey said the industry should draw on the spirit of the early Pioneer Age of aviation to tackle the challenge of reducing carbon emissions. "In this New Pioneer Age, the key to success in the areas of both technology and tactics will be experimentation," Blakey said. "In a sense, this is nothing new. The aviation industry has long achieved progress by encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurial testing, and the environmental issue should not and must not be the exception to the rule." The environmental summit brought together leaders from all segments of aviation, including manufacturers, airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, pilots, controllers and others. The aim of the summit, the third of its kind, is to consider major environmental challenges and develop strategies to address them. Blakey represented the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations, a global body representing manufacturers all over the world. She serves as chair of ICCAIA. In her speech, Blakey said environmental improvements will take international gains in technology, tactics and teamwork. Cooperation is extremely important to success, she said, and can be achieved through groups like ATAG and the International Civil Aviation Organization. ICAO already has a framework for this teamwork, the Group on International Aviation and Climate Change. Blakey mentioned aviation's tremendous track record in the environmental arena. Fuel burned per seat mile in todays aircraft is down more than 70 percent from early jets, and new planes are more fuel efficient than most automobiles in a per-passenger basis. Blakey acknowledged there are differences in opinion on the best approach to environmental improvements, but said they are far from insurmountable. The ATAG summit itself is proof of what is possible, she said. "We have representatives from every corner of the industry, and from all over the globe," Blakey said. "And we have a common goal of improving environmental performance." The full remarks are available online at www.aia-aerospace.org under the News & Events tab.