easyJet calls for environment re-think

easyJet has called for an end to the ‘hysterical persecution of aviation by those seeking to place the blame for climate
change solely at the door of aviation’ and called for a more balanced debate on the
environmental impact of flying. easyJet’s call follows the release of a report, undertaken by one of Europe’s
leading economics consulting firms, Frontier Economics, for the European Low Fares
Airline Association (ELFAA), which provides an objective assessment of the economic
issues related to proposals to include aviation in the European Union’s Emissions
Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

Andy Harrison, easyJet Chief Executive, said:

 

“Contrary to the views of many, aviation is not the environment’s biggest enemy
- not today and not tomorrow. The report published today shows that aviation only
accounts for only 4% of EU-15 CO2 emissions and will account for 5% of EU-25 CO2
emissions in 2030 - these numbers are based upon the European Commission’s own
numbers. This shows that too much of the debate has been based upon inaccurate and
one-sided information. The result is that some of Europe’s biggest offenders are
getting off lightly.

 

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“We are calling for an end to the hysterical persecution of aviation by those that
seek to wrongly blame airlines, particularly low-cost airlines, for climate change.
Aviation has its part to play - and the report demonstrates that we are playing it
- but those that contend it is “all the fault of airlines” are wrong, wrong,
wrong!

 

“Unlike many other industries, aviation is an enabler of economic growth - in
other words, it ‘oils the wheels’ of Europe’s economy and, as such, any policy
that undermines growth in this sector risks damaging the European economy as a
whole. Some 3.1 million jobs and €221bn of GDP in the EU-15 are dependent upon
aviation. It is also a key driver for integration with the new Member States and
growth under the EU’s Lisbon Agenda.

 

“Responsible airlines, like easyJet, are keen advocates of the EU’s Emissions
Trading Scheme, but argue that there should be joined-up thinking in all parts of
the industry. For example, the report estimates that 50% of the opportunity for
reducing the emissions from EU aviation lies with Europe’s famously inefficient
patchwork of air traffic control system - which is why easyJet also supports the
EU’s “Single European Skies” programmes.

 

“Calling for more taxes on air travel is sloppy thinking - in itself, this just
puts more money into the pockets of governments and discriminates against the
poorest in society who until recently were priced out of the sky. Crucially, and
most importantly, it doesn’t benefit the environment.

 

“easyJet is one of the world’s most environmentally-efficient airlines. We are a
responsible airline and take our environmental obligations seriously. We fly
brand-new aircraft with some of the highest load-factors in the business. We fly
point-to-point so don’t waste resources on unnecessary connecting flights and have
always argued for bankrupt inefficient airlines to leave the sector and eliminate
the unprofitable flying that is usually done on older, dirtier aircraft.”

 

easyJet is a strong supporter of the principles behind the EU’s Emissions Trading
Scheme - but calls for this to include the largest possible proportion of European
flights. Applying ETS only to intra-European short-haul travel would only cover 20%
of Europe’s flying - or 1% of total EU emissions; this would appear to be
insufficient and would only represent “tokenism” on the part of the EU. Much
greater coverage could be obtained by including ex-EU flights in the scheme of
classifying airports as the “installation”, rather than airlines, thereby
ensuring that every take-off and landing is covered - regardless of the
destination of the aircraft.

 

Any Emissions Trading Scheme must also:

 

*      Ensure that allowances are being allocated fairly: airlines must not be
given an incentive to do nothing for the next few years - so allowances must not
be based on historical usage.

*      Guard against distortion of competition: environmentally-efficient
low-cost airlines operating brand-new, clean and quiet aircraft must not be
penalised in favour of inefficient traditional airlines with old, dirty aircraft.

*      Be pan-European: the allocation process must have harmonised rules and
administration through the entire EU to avoid favouritism and illegal protection of
national champions.

 

Commenting on the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, Andy Harrison said:

 

“An emissions trading scheme is the right way to go - provided that it covers
the widest possible proportion of Europe’s flying. The EU has one chance to get
this right and applying the scheme only to intra-EU flying would be irresponsible
tokenism.

 

“Air transport is a crucially important sector in achieving economic growth,
competitiveness and integration - which are the pillars of the European project.
The EU must start to properly consider the wider implications of bad regulation in
aviation on European competitiveness and growth.  We hope that policy makers will
seriously consider the findings of the Frontier Report before coming to any
conclusions on including aviation in the EU ETS.”
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