U.S. Aviation Interests Continue To Strongly Oppose The
In a decision announced Wednesday, the European Court of Justice
(ECJ) said European authorities are authorized to obligate all
operators, including the airlines and general aviation, to comply
with the program, known as the European Union Emissions Trading
Scheme (EU-ETS). The court's ruling was made in response to a legal
challenge questioning the applicability of EU-ETS to owners and
operators of aircraft based in the U.S.
“Application of the emissions trading scheme to aviation
infringes neither the principles of customary international law at
issue, nor the open-skies agreement,” the European Court of
Justice (ECJ) said in its ruling.
The NBAA, which is party to the legal challenge, expressed
strong opposition to a European court's ruling shortly after its
"The court's ruling goes against established policy and
long-standing practice when it comes to aviation regulations," said
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "It appears to set aside the
principle, established in the Chicago Convention, that because
aviation is a global industry, aviation policies should be
developed and implemented on a global basis. Any new standards
should be developed by the International Civil Aviation
Organization [ICAO], the United Nations body established to set
policies for the industry, and in fact, ICAO has been working to
develop such standards for aviation emissions. The parties to the
lawsuit believe the challenge to the EU-ETS is still warranted, and
options are being considered for appealing the court's ruling."
Bolen noted that the court's decision also appears to ignore the
1944 ICAO pact giving nations sovereignty over their own skies. The
plan would tax flights from their point of origin rather than from
the point they enter European airspace, in effect, taxing flights
in airspace outside the EU.
Wednesday's decision from the European court comes as government
and industry voices are increasingly raising alarm over the
potential for EU regulators' actions to set a damaging precedent.
This month, legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate
prohibiting operators of U.S. aircraft from participating in the
EU-ETS. That legislation was met with strong support from a
coalition of groups, including NBAA, representing nearly all
aviation segments. A bill similar to the one introduced in the
Senate was passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives in
Representatives from the international aviation community have
also spoken out against the EU-ETS plan. On November 2, ICAO issued
a non-binding statement, approved by 26 of the international body's
36 member states, including the U.S., urging the EU not to include
flights by non-EU operators in the ETS.
Although aviation emissions account for just a tiny percentage of
carbon emissions from transportation worldwide, the industry has a
record of continuous improvement in reducing emissions, and has
established goals for increasing fuel efficiency and decreasing
emissions in the years to come.
NBAA says that, while it will continue to seek a global approach
to environmental issues, in the interim, operators should continue
complying with EU-ETS-related monitoring, reporting and