The Executive Committee of the Arab Air Carriers Organisation held its meeting in Doha, during which the spotlight turned on the controversial Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) implemented by the European Union on airlines entering EU airspace.
Members – including Qatar Airways – of the regional aviation body, which represents the interests of commercial airlines across the Arab world, discussed the EU’s persistence in applying its ETS programme despite objections voiced by governments around the world about the scheme’s legality.
The Executive Committee called on the EU to listen to voices around the world, calling on it to work with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on a global, rather than Europe-wide, solution on how to deal with the environmental footprint of civil aviation.
The Committee decided to call on the EU to redirect its efforts on the environmental issue through ICAO and find a global solution and relinquish its unilateral application of the ETS.
As a result of the discussions, the Doha meeting declared the following:-
• A unilateral application of the EU ETS is violating the essence of the Chicago convention, which stipulates that the Air Transport relations between states need to be regulated by mutual consent and agreement.
• The resolutions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have explicitly called upon states that wish to introduce initiatives in the environmental footprint of aviation, to do that in agreement with the other states whose institutions might be impacted by such initiatives.
• The fact that the ETS holds airlines of the world responsible for their emissions before the European authorities, contradicts with the principles of sovereignty of states over their national aerospace, and that national institutions of states are responsible before its own authorities and not the authorities of other countries.
• The EU’s attempts to impose its own policies on other states will only lead to conflicts and trade wars which will not help the environment, the customer nor will it help the airlines. On the contrary, these attempts will negatively impact those stakeholders thus negatively impacting as well the global economic activity.
• The environmental cause is a global one and any solution thereof should also be global arrived at under the auspices of the concerned United nations agency: ICAO
• The Arab Air Carriers Organisation is quite aware of the necessity to mitigate the environmental footprint of aviation and it supports taking global measures agreed upon within ICAO.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, who hosted members at the meeting, said the Emission Trading Scheme was one of the most controversial subjects facing the global aviation industry today.
“There has to be a systematic approach to the implementation of any such scheme and, like many airlines around the world, we feel the European Union needed to take a step-by-step consultative approach before imposing programmes and penalising an aviation industry that plays a crucial role in driving economies.”