Transport and Environment (T&E)

Airbus shows an industry refusing to see future


Source: Transport and Environment (T&E)

Letter published by T&E Director, Jos Dings, in today's Financial Times.

Sir, In the latest round of industry scaremongering over the inclusion of aviation in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), Airbus and the Association of European Airlines accuse the EU of creating a “unilateral tax imposed on third-country carriers” that “will create a trade conflict with the world’s most powerful economic and political players”.

That description of a unilateral tax imposed on third-country carriers perfectly fits the US international transportation tax (currently $16.30 a passenger) which applies to all international flights arriving in or departing from the US.

In place for at least a decade, it does not seem to have caused the “trade conflict” that Airbus predicts in its alarmist letter to the European Commission.

The EU-ETS, on the other hand, cannot even be described as a tax because airlines can reduce their exposure by cutting emissions. They will also get 85 per cent of their permits for free.

The only way of avoiding America’s tax, by the way, is not to land at an American airport.

Airbus is in the business of selling new aircraft that cut fuel costs and emissions; this in turn helps airlines to avoid buying permits for the EU-ETS.

That it now joins the throng calling for an end to this modest initiative is an ironic and depressing reflection of an industry that refuses to look its future in the face.

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