The air transportation industry is essential for future economic growth and development, trade and commerce, cultural exchange and understanding among peoples and nations. Today it provides approximately 32 million direct and indirect jobs worldwide. Aircraft carry approximately 40% of the value of all world trade. In 2007 more travellers than ever before flew on the world's scheduled air carriers, nearly 2.2 billion people, with predictions of 9 billion passengers by 2025. In the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean region, the rapid movement of people and materials provided by aviation will be crucial to continued economic growth and development over the next few decades.

The aviation sector has a long and distinguished record of environmental achievement. Relative to other industries that emit global green house gases (GHG), aviation's contribution represents only 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Technological advancement has significantly reduced aircraft fuel consumption and emissions on a per passenger basis over the last 30 years, and the industry is committed to improving on this record. But we face a real challenge in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean region as air transport activity is expected to continue to grow steadily throughout the region.

In order to meet the growing regional demand for air transportation, while maintaining the industry's leadership position, it is essential for aviation partners to collaborate on environmental stewardship.