The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and six other air transport associations have issued a joint position on an Emissions Trading Scheme for aviation. In accordance with the European Commission’s own guidelines for better regulation, the associations state that they will not accept any proposal on emissions trading without comprehensive business impact assessments being undertaken.
ERA director general, Mike Ambrose says: “Aviation has a significant role to play in achieving the economic development, social cohesion and mobility that European citizens aspire to, particularly those in the new EU member states. While the industry is committed to pursuing every effort to minimize its environmental impact through research, technological and operational measures, it is unreasonable for it to accept any ETS that has not been rigorously assessed for its impact both on business and on the environment.”
The main points of the proposed scheme are as follows:
á The aviation industry is committed to pursuing every effort to minimise its environmental impact through research, technological progress and operational measures.
á The aviation industry is therefore prepared to consider an emissions trading scheme (ETS), provided (alongside other requirements) such a scheme has been demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt to be beneficial to the environment and without any severe detrimental consequences.
á A well-designed ETS would be far more cost-efficient and environmentally effective than taxes and charges.
á The aviation industry strongly advocates a worldwide ETS solution through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to be introduced as soon as possible. If the European Union (EU) were to take unilateral action, the application of ETS to civil aviation would have to be at an EU-wide, and not Member State, level.
á No agreement to a proposed ETS will be made by the aviation industry unless comprehensive business impact assessments are undertaken. The scheme must be designed to be introduced without distorting international competition or imposing unreasonable cost burdens on air operators. All operators on all routes covered by the scheme should therefore be treated equally.
á An ETS applied to civil aviation should be ‘open’, allowing trading between civil aviation and other sectors.
á An aviation sector ETS should be applied solely to CO2 emissions. Emissions of NOx are already being effectively managed by international standards set by ICAO.
Ambrose commented: “The development of a badly-designed ETS risks adding significant costs to the airline industry without achieving any real environmental benefits. Great care will be needed to design a scheme that will definitely deliver genuine environmental benefits at bearable costs.”
In addition to ERA, the other associations are: the Association of European Airlines (AEA); the European Low Fare Airlines Association (ELFAA); the International Air Carrier Association (IACA); the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD); the European Cargo Alliance and the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA).