IAG chief executive Willie Walsh will call on airlines and governments to support the United Nations’ proposed system to ensure the airline industry can play its part in tackling climate change at a global level.

He will also announce that IAG is the first airline group worldwide to set its own carbon emissions targets. The Group’s carbon efficiency will improve from 95.4 grammes of CO2 per passenger kilometre in 2015 to 87.3 by 2020.

Speaking at the Aviation Leadership Summit in Singapore, Willie Walsh will stress that the airline industry is the only sector that has agreed to reduce its net carbon emissions with the introduction of an emissions cap from 2020 and a 50 per cent cut by 2050.

These ambitious targets can only be achieved if governments and airlines agree on a global deal to address carbon emissions as proposed by the United Nations aviation specialised agency ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation). This means that future growth in carbon emissions will be offset to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment.

Willie Walsh said: “A fair, uniform system will give aviation a clear and direct financial incentive to develop cleaner aircraft, switch to low-carbon fuels and introduce more efficient air traffic systems that eradicate unnecessary flying. No other industry has anything like as comprehensive a scheme for reducing its global CO2 footprint.

“A global deal for aviation carbon emissions is the only way we can continue to grow our industry sustainably to meet demand. This is a once in a generation opportunity to develop an effective global scheme. We must grasp the opportunity now.”

If the UN specialised agency’s (ICAO) plan is endorsed, aviation ministers from across the world will meet in Montreal in October to agree a global market based measure that will be mandatory for the aviation industry.

This will incentivise the industry to reduce reliance on carbon fuels but support from governments is critical for these initiatives to progress.

“Developing innovative fuel solutions is also crucial. We’re investing to develop biofuels but governments should incentivise sustainable jet fuels in the same way they do for cars. They are prepared to pay for research and development to have more efficient cars yet airlines currently depend on carbon based fuels so need support to deliver a sustainable future,” added Walsh.