2% target until 2020
An annual 2% improvement in fuel efficiency in aircraft has been called for by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The Organisation adopted the target and said it also backed as "aspirational" a move to continue the 2% yearly improvement until 2050.
The decisions were made at ICAO's High Level Meeting on International Aviation and Climate Change at its headquarters in Montreal.
The organisation also confirmed its status as the "preferred channel" at the UN Copenhagen climate conference in December for dealing with aviation's impact on the environment.
The ICAO 2% decision is different from the 1.5% annual fuel efficiency improvement to 2020 with neutral growth thereafter suggested by other aviation bodies.
These include the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Council International, Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations.
At its meeting the ICAO did not address carbon taxes or emissions trading.
It also did not agree to a global approach on environmental matters but said it would look at the feasibility of carbon-neutral growth and emissions reductions.
But ICAO's position was welcomed by IATA.
Giovanni Bisignani, its director general and ceo, said: "We took a step in the right direction, toward a global sectoral approach, but there is still a lot of ground to cover.
"As a united industry, we remain committed to the ambitious environmental targets that we brought to this meeting.
"Governments took note of our targets and recognized the need to work with industry to secure a sustainable future for aviation. This is significant progress."