Emissions Trading Scheme goes to the vote again

In the April 2013 special issue edition of Aerospace Focus, Bristows wrote about the European Commission’s decision to suspend the Emissions Trading Scheme for commercial aviation activities between the EEA and third countries. The application of ETS to commercial aviation activities has been beset with controversy from the outset and had threatened to bring about all-out international trade war. The most controversial aspect was that long-haul flights operated by foreign airlines, which happened to begin or end in the EEA, would have their emissions for the whole length of the flight caught by the scheme, and not just the emissions from their time in European skies. This was seen by many as an unfair extra-territorial tax.

The subsequent partial suspension of the scheme was put forward as an opportunity to allow a global solution to be explored through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). However, the position that industry was left with meant that medium-haul feeder routes between the EEA and hubs outside the EEA, such as those operated by the Middle Eastern airlines, were excused entirely from the Emissions Trading Scheme. Meanwhile, traditional short-haul feeder routes within the EU, such as those operated by the traditional European flag carriers, remained within the scheme. This has served to put the European aviation industry at a competitive disadvantage…

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