European airlines fire broadside over emissions plan
Published: May 29, 2012
European airlines have lined up to criticize the European Union’s (EU) controversial Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), warning once again that imposing it on non-EU nations and carriers risks a trade war ( ATW Daily News, May 25 ).
The ETS is levied on all flights landing at or departing from EU airports—even if much of a sector’s mileage is racked up outside EU airspace.
Speaking after the Assn. of European Airlines’ (AEA) Presidents’ Assembly in Brussels, several CEOs expressed worries that retaliation by non-EU nations, angered by what they regarded as an infringement of their sovereignty, would undermine further Europe’s fragile economic state.
They argued that European airlines could help stimulate economic growth but that sanctions against imposition of the ETS would hamper it.
“We can’t deliver growth with a trade war hanging over us,” said International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh.
He urged the EU to take action to defuse international tensions and insisted ICAO is the organization best placed to achieve a global agreement on emissions.
KLM CEO Peter Hartman said it was simple for non-EU nations who disagreed with the ETS to levy additional charges on EU airlines. “For example, it’s very easy for the Russians to increase the cost of overflying,” he said. That money could be used to compensate Russian carriers for their ETS charges.
Airbus has already felt Beijing’s displeasure withthe ETS in the form of aircraft order cancellations, added Walsh ( ATW Daily News, March 14 ).