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AEA warns environmental regulations threaten airlines' 'sustainability'

ATW Daily News by Cathy Buyck - 20 Nov.08

Association of European Airlines adopted "The Hague Declaration" at its Presidents' Assembly in The Hague last week, urging national governments and EU institutions to better value the airline industry and not unduly impose restrictions based on environmental concerns.

"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," AEA Chairman and KLM President and CEO Peter Hartman said.

The Hague Declaration urges a rethinking of the parameters of aviation's inclusion in the EU's emissions trading scheme, maintaining that airlines should not have to account for emissions caused by flying indirect routings owing to "political intransigence" on implementing a Single European Sky. "It is unthinkable that ETS should penalize airlines for the CO2 they are forced to emit as they fly through Europe's fragmented airspace," Hartman said.

The statement of 35 European airline CEOs seeks an "absolute guarantee" that European carriers will not be required to buy permits to operate routes in competition with third-country airlines not covered by the ETS and calls on EU institutions to make a concerted effort to promote a global scheme that will avoid competitive distortions. The declaration also calls for an end to the proliferation of "environmental" taxes on airlines and passengers and the withdrawal of such taxes where they already exist upon implementation of the ETS.

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