UK Government to refer US airline legal challenge over the EU ETS to the European Court of Justice
Tue 26 Jan 2010 – According to Business Green, the UK Government is to refer the legal action instigated against it last month (see story) over the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) by three US airlines – American, Continental and United – to the European Court of Justice on the grounds that this is likely to offer the swiftest resolution of the issue. A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change told the online publication that the Government firmly refuted the case brought against it and would make a robust defence of the European legislation in the court. The airlines, backed by the Air Transport Association of North America (ATA), argue that their inclusion in the EU ETS contravenes articles in the Chicago Convention, the treaty that binds international civil aviation.
All operators with aircraft above a certain minimum weight flying to, from and within the European Union with at least a daily frequency must join the scheme, which starts 1 January 2012. From the beginning of this month, these operators are required to have already submitted plans to the Competent Authority of the country they are to be administered by and must start to monitor their emissions and tonne-kilometre data.
The three airlines concerned are being administered by the UK and, on advice from the ATA, are currently complying with the regulations “under protest”.
The decision of the court will be keenly followed by other non-EU countries whose airlines are obliged to join the scheme and have been rumoured to be considering a similar move.
The scope of the aviation EU ETS has been recently extended to include three non-EU countries – Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.