Princess launches APA Environmental Forum
By Sonia K & Za'im Zaini

Her Royal Highness Princess Hjh Majeedah Nuurul Bulqiah yesterday officially launched the Asia Pacific Aviation (APA) Environmental Forum at Indera Kayangan Ball Room, The Empire Hotel & Country Club.

The forum, hosted by Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA), aims to heighten awareness of environmental challenges and communicate joint industry messages or data aimed at sustaining air transport's development to secure its future growth.

Delivering the welcoming remarks was the Director General, of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), Mr Andrew Herdman, who said, "Aviation faces a number of distinct issues relating to the environment. Noise, particularly around airports, has long been a contentious subject. Manufacturers have made significant progress in reducing the noise footprint of modern aircraft, which are noticeably quieter in operation.

"Local air quality is another aspect of being a good corporate citizen. In line with this, airlines continue to work closely with airport operators to manage local emissions, including emissions from ground transport systems and services as well as aircraft emissions on the ground."

He added that various regulatory measures are currently under discussion, which would allow the industry to make a wider contribution to global efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Such initiatives could include airlines participating in voluntary programmes, as well as open emissions trading schemes, which use market based measures to channel resources into those areas of economic activity where the greatest improvements in environmental performance can be achieved.

"An important characteristic of many of the initiatives is the need for consistency of application and a harmonised global approach in order to avoid competitive distortions. In this respect, we fully support the role of ICAO as the approach policy making body," Mr Herdman said.

Meanwhile Pg Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Hamid bin Pg Hj Mohd Yassin, Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office cum Chairman of RBA, also delivered a speech.

He spoke on the theme of the forum, 'Asia Pacific and the Environment: Managing Growth Responsibly', which aims to bring aviation stakeholders an up-to-date perspective on global environmental issues in order to understand the potential impact of aviation on the environment and to provide a platform for the exchange of experiences and bet practices to manage growth in a sustainable manner.

"Society expects the aviation sector to play its part in meeting high level CO2 reduction targets as well as easing community noise disturbance, and the industry must be seen to deliver. It will require the best endeavour of the industry and research community, both here and abroad. But we must rise to the occasion. Failure to do so will affect the ability of the industry to grow," he said.

He noted that Royal Brunei Airlines together with other members of AAPA are committed to ensuring the development of safe, efficient and environmentally friendly air transport whilst being profitable and service oriented, bringing about an atmosphere conducive for the stimulation of the travel and tourism industry.

"During the next two days, we will deliberate issues such as 'Aviation and the Environment', 'Performance on Environmental and Social Issues', 'Infrastructure and Technology - Emissions at Global and Local Level', 'Infrastructure and Technology - Noise' and 'Responding to the Challenge and Future Direction of Aviation'," the RBA Chairman said.

Over 200 participants and presenters from the aviation industry, non-government organisations and service providers from AAPA member nations took part in the forum, which is by invitation only.

Two keynote speeches by Minister of Development, Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdullah, and Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum Company, Dr Grahaeme Henderson, were delivered at the opening ceremony. - Borneo Bulletin (29th Nov 2006)