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Airline chiefs reaffirm their commitment to a lower carbon future and call for more investment into sustainable alternative fuels

AEA Pressrelease 18 Feb.11

European airline chiefs, meeting in Brussels today, reaffirmed their commitment to an environmentally responsible airline sector but warned that, with the 2012 introduction date fast approaching, obstacles to the effective inclusion of aviation in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme would become increasingly apparent in 2011.

The members of the Board of the Association of European Airlines were assembled for their first meeting under the Chairmanship of Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic. They reasserted AEA’s longstanding support of an environmentally effective and economically efficient ETS, as a precursor to a global scheme.

“The 1 January 2012 start date for EU ETS is fast approaching, but there are still many critical areas which need to be resolved”, said Steve Ridgway. “It’s imperative that the Commission fixes these issues to ensure that the Emissions Trading Scheme works as always envisaged, and avoids creating unfair market distortions or undermining its environmental effectiveness”.

If aviation’s contribution to society is not to be diminished in the quest for lower environmental impact, instruments such as ETS need to be complemented by clean technology, said the AEA Chairman, “We call on the EU to stimulate the development of step change technologies – putting Europe at the forefront of this new industrial revolution - critical amongst which are sustainable alternative fuels with their obvious potential to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint”.

The AEA CEOs expressed their readiness to cooperate fully with the European Commission in working out the necessary conditions for an effective transition to new generation fuels. “The Treasuries of EU Member States will be receiving massive incomes from ETS. It is only common sense that these revenues should provide the investment needed to further the aims of an environmental policy”, said Mr Ridgeway.

“This includes funding for the SESAR project to provide the next generation of Air Traffic Management, and the research & development effort to break aviation’s current dependency on fossil fuels, stabilise the energy supply chain and deliver more quickly a lower carbon future for our sector”.

For further information, please contact: David Henderson Manager Information
Phone: +32(0) 2 639 8972
Email: david.henderson@aea.be

Note to the Editor: The Association of European Airlines (AEA) brings together 36 European established scheduled network carriers. These collectively carry 377 million passengers and 6 million tonnes of cargo each year, operating 2,800 aircraft serving 630 destinations in 163 countries with 12,000 flights a day. They provide around 392,000 jobs directly, and generate a total turnover of €82 billion

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