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Emissions Trading top of the agenda at AEA Assembly

AEA Press Release 27.11.2006 Pr06-053


The proposal on a European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for aviation by the Commission’s Environment Directorate was at the top of the agenda of the AEA Assembly, a bi-annual gathering of the Presidents of the major European airlines who recently met in Berlin.

The Assembly discussed this topic, as well as the industry’s most pressing concerns, with European Commission Vice-President and Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot.

The AEA Presidents acknowledged the need to address the environmental responsibilities of the aviation sector. They believe that any trading scheme, which they are willing to contribute to in principle, should be seen in the context of a bundle of measures designed to minimise the impact of aviation on the environment, ranging from further technological developments of engines and aircraft, to infrastructural improvements such as the creation of a Single European Sky – an initiative which, when it becomes reality, will cut aircraft emissions over Europe by 12%.

Whilst agreeing with the principles of an ETS, the CEOs felt that the proposal developed by Environment Commissioner Dimas is distortive and will damage the competitiveness of European airlines. In their view, it requires further analysis of the consequences of the scheme on Europe’s economies, financial situation, tourism and environment, because his services had bypassed an ongoing industry consultation process and had avoided a proper impact assessment. 

“As it stands, this proposal discriminates against aviation vis-à-vis other sectors already included in the EU ETS”, said AEA Secretary General Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus. “We also feel that the possible repercussions of such a proposal on international relations have not been thought through. This text is unbalanced. It should be changed now, or withdrawn and changed in consultation with the industry before being presented to the Commissioners.”

Mr Barrot assured the Assembly that he remained personally committed to maintaining the competitiveness of the European airline industry, and applauded aviation’s desire to be fully engaged in the climate change debate, and its willingness to make a significant contribution to controlling emissions.

Another important topic of discussion was the Commission’s proposed package of regulatory measures in the field of airport activity. Whilst welcoming the progress achieved in establishing a constructive political dialogue between the industry and the Commission on infrastructure policy, the CEOs nonetheless expressed disappointment that proposals for the revision of the 1996 Ground Handling Directive had been deferred to next year, to be replaced by a report on the current status of the ground handling sector in the EU.

The Assembly also expressed the belief that key elements of the crucial Framework Directive on Airport Charges required reinforcement, so as to underpin a well-functioning relationship between airports and airlines – non-discrimination, transparency, consultation, and the oversight of an independent regulator at national level.

On the topic of Security, the Assembly expressed its ongoing concerns on the lack of  public funding for security measures aimed at public protection, and on the way air transport was subject to stringent regimes which were not applied to other modes. 

As regards restrictions on the carriage of liquids, Mr Barrot congratulated AEA on its active co-operation in smoothing the introduction of the recent rules through a co-ordinated passenger information campaign.  “This is an evident example of the positive results which can be achieved when the industry and its regulators work together in partnership”, said Mr Schulte-Strathaus.

For further information, please contact:

David Henderson Manager Information Phone: +32(0) 2 639 89 72

Email: david.henderson@aea.be www.aea.be

Note to the Editor: The Association of European Airlines (AEA) brings together 31 European established service and scheduled network carriers. These collectively carry 320 million passengers and 6 million tons of cargo each year, operating 2,400 aircraft serving 620 destinations in 160 countries with 10,720 flights a day. They provide around 378,000 jobs directly, and generate a total turnover of €75 billion.



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