US airlines criticise EU emissions scheme decision

The Air Transport Association of America has expressed harsh opposition to the European Parliament’s Oct. 24 final approval of legislation covering the world’s airlines under the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).In a speech delivered before the European Aviation Club in Brussels, ATA President and CEO James C. May drew attention to a proliferation of new aviation taxes and charges within the European Union (EU), pointing out how these taxes and fees are counterproductive to the industry’s ongoing environmental progress. May said that, “Masquerading under the banner of supposedly ‘protecting’ the environment, these measures threaten to stifle the growth of the industry, compromise our environmental progress and, ultimately, raise prices for consumers, leaving them to take alternative, less safe, higher emitting modes of transportation.”

May also emphasized that the EU legislation adding aviation to the ETS - opposed by the United States and many other countries - violates international law and reverses the progress being made with ongoing fuel-efficiency and environmental innovations. It is estimated that this European cap-and-trade system would impose an annual cost to airlines (over and above the cost of jet fuel) of several billion dollars in 2012, tripling in 2020.


May offered three solutions being pursued vigorously by ATA member airlines. He emphasized the vital connection between energy and environmental issues and the importance of addressing these issues together. “First, governments must recognize that policies that siphon money out of aviation are counterproductive; airlines should not be prevented from reinvesting in ever-improving technologies that reduce emissions. Second, governments and politicians have dilly-dallied for too long in considering new air traffic management systems; they should get on with the task of building them. And third, we must all recognize the need for developing alternative fuels, a task that demands the development of comprehensive policies and genuine public, private and academic partnerships.”



May concluded his remarks by urging Europe and the world away from unilateral action on these important issues, saying that “... great challenges are best addressed collectively.”