Aviation groups call for delay to EU carbon rules

LEADING European aviation companies have warned that European Union plans to charge airlines for carbon pollution could jeopardise jobs and huge trade deals with China.

The group of major airlines and plane makers – including Airbus, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Air Berlin and Iberia – said the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) for carbon dioxide created an “intolerable” threat to the European aviation industry.

The firms have sent letters to governments in Britain, Germany, France and Spain pointed out the possibility of trade battles with China, the US and Russia.

Airbus – which is also backed by aerospace engine makers MTU and Safran – argued the EU’s proposals to regulate the output of carbon dioxide would reduce competitiveness and wants the EU to postpone the scheme until a global plan on airline carbon emissions is agreed. China, the US and other nations are concerned that airlines could be made to pay a charge related to carbon emissions even when flying outside European airspace.

Airbus said three Chinese airlines – Air China, China Eastern and Hainan Airlines – had failed to finalise preliminary agreements to buy A330s because of worries over the plans.