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AEA Pressrelease 17 Nov.08

Don’t worsen Carbon Trading conditions, say airline chiefs

The heads of Europe’s 35 most important scheduled airlines have called upon national governments and the European institutions to better recognize the value of the airline industry. In this perspective they don’t want an Emissions Trading Scheme without a Single European Sky.

Addressing the Presidents’ Assembly of the Association of European Airlines in The Hague on Friday, Peter Hartman, AEA Chairman and KLM President and CEO said: “We cannot imagine our lives without an adequate infrastructure for cell phones, roads and electricity – or indeed our economy without a sustainable aviation infrastructure. Aviation is a staple requirement for European mobility, prosperity and jobs. Especially now, in the current severe economic downturn, the sustainability of European aviation is at stake”. The aviation leaders called upon the EU legislators to provide for an adequate regulatory framework.

Mr Hartman emphasized the airlines’ environmental track record and their acknowledgement that they would be subject to the EU Emissions Trading System from 2012. However the Assembly rejected moves to change the parameters of the system for aviation before it had started functioning.

In signing the Hague Declaration participants in the Presidents’ Assembly delivered this message to the regulators in the presence of Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transport.

The AEA insists that the appropriate solution is a global system for CO2 emissions trading scheme, rather than a regional one. “Only then can we be sure of a level playing field”, said Peter Hartman.

The airline industry, he went on, is working tirelessly with suppliers of aircraft, engines and fuel to develop new and greener technologies. “We are in no doubt”, he said, “that technology can deliver a new era in low-carbon aviation. However, our industry has to be in a state of financial health that allows the necessary investments to take place. In this respect, a punitive ETS will be a counter-productive measure”.

The other prominent element of the Hague Declaration is the urgent need for the implementation of the Single European Sky (SES), the solution to the fragmentation of the European airspace that airlines campaigned to change for almost 20 years. The present fragmented European air traffic management system, said Mr Hartman, is a morass of inefficiency which translates into wasted fuel, unnecessary emissions, inflated user charges and excessive delays. “It is unthinkable that ETS should penalise airlines for the CO2 they are forced to emit as they fly through Europe’s fragmented airspace,” he said.

For further information, please contact:
Françoise Humbert, General Manager Communications
Phone: +32(0) 2 639 89 93 – Email: francoise.humbert@aea.be

Note to the Editor: The Association of European Airlines (AEA) brings together 35 European established service and scheduled network carriers. These collectively carry 380 million passengers and 7 million tonnes of cargo each year, operating 2,660 aircraft serving 615 destinations in 165 countries with 11,865 flights a day. They provide around 426,000 jobs directly, and generate a total turnover of €79 billion.

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