ETS: foreign airlines can 'opt out'

2012-11-14 08:25
European airlines are calling for the EU emissions tax to be scrapped after foreign airlines flying into Europe were allowed to 'opt out,' Travelmole reports.

The European Union has agreed to suspend its rules requiring both local and foreign airlines flying in and out of European airports to pay for their carbon emissions. According to eTN a Brussels-based aviation source says that the rule has been suspended at least until September next year.

The unpopular ETS scheme, which charged airlines a tax dependent on how much CO2 they emitted and came into force in January this year, was strongly opposed by US and Asian airlines and governments. eTN reports that African governments failed to make any significant noises on behalf of key airlines like Kenya Airways, Ethiopian, South African, or Egypt Air, drawing the wrath to AFRAA, the African Airlines Association, which accused their governments of bending over and failing to unite.

IATA and ICAO have been working hand in hand in recent months to defuse the situation, and backed by countries opposed to the ETS rule, proposed that a global solution be found through a negotiated settlement rather than imposing unsustainable regulations introduced by one member block on all others.

The British Air Transport Association (BATA) has said any part suspension of the EU ETS must not result in different rules applying to different airlines dependent on the routes they operate.

Simon Buck, chief executive of BATA, said: "There is a potential for competitive distortion between airlines with this action which could be damaging.

"Details of precisely what has been agreed between the Commission and Member States are as yet sketchy ahead of the technical briefing promised for tomorrow but UK airlines have always argued for a global approach to tackling the impact of aircraft emissions on climate change."

Ryanair called for the tax to be scrapped adding that it increases the costs of European aviation, making it anti-competitive, while doing nothing to address EU carbon emissions.

EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said she had 'proposed stopping the clock for a year'.

She said the suspension was due to progress being made in negotiations on a global emissions deal.

But she added that if the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) did not make progress towards a global deal by this time next year the European tax would be reintroduced.

The commission said it had only introduced its own trading scheme because it had "waited for many years for ICAO to progress".

"Nobody wants an international framework tackling CO2-emissions from aviation more than we do," Ms Hedegaard said

Read more on:    travel international

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