European air transport bosses urge EU leaders to find an international compromise over EU ETS conflict
Mon 12 March 2012 – The CEOs of nine leading European aerospace manufacturers and airlines have written letters to the Prime Ministers of France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom to put a stop to the growing probability of a trade conflict with China and other major nations over the EU ETS. Airbus, which fears a damaging loss of orders for its aircraft, has been joined by major European flag carriers such as Air France, Lufthansa, Iberia and British Airways, as well as Virgin Atlantic, Air Berlin, Safran and MTU Aero Engines, in believing they face serious consequences over the EU carbon scheme.
In letters to David Cameron (UK), François Fillon (France), Angela Merkel (Germany) and Mariano Rajoy (Spain), the CEOs say they expect countermeasures and restrictions on EU airlines, such as special taxes and traffic rights limitations, by countries opposed to the EU ETS. Airbus points to the suspension of $12 billion worth of orders from China, potentially jeopardising more than 1,000 jobs at Airbus in Europe and at least another 1,000 in the supply chain.
They expect that as other important markets continue to oppose the ETS, the situation will become “intolerable” for the European aviation industry, which Europe can ill-afford in the current economic climate, they say.
Urgent consultations should take place at the level of the EU Council and with the states taking retaliatory trade action, they request.
“The aim must be to find a compromise solution and to have these punitive trade measures stopped before it is too late,” write the CEOs. “We have always believed that only a global solution would be adequate to resolve the problem of global aviation emissions. This solution can only be found in ICAO, which has recently appointed a high level dedicated group to propose a global framework for international aviation emissions by the end of this year.”
The nine organisations say the industry remains a supporter of market-based measures such as global emissions trading schemes being applied to aviation to achieve the goal of increasing the environmental sustainability of worldwide aviation.
“The CEOs urge the Prime Ministers to use their influence in the ICAO Council to find an acceptable solution within as short a time frame as possible and offer industry’s support in providing resources to make this possible,” they add.
This week, the ICAO Council meets in a regular session during which it will consider a report recommending further evaluation of four market-based measures, including global emissions trading and also emissions offsetting. It is anticipated that this can be narrowed down to one by the time of a Council meeting in November and could be submitted to the ICAO Assembly for agreement by the 190-odd member states in 2013.