European airlines and IATA slam EU plan to expand emissions rule for flights

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Airlines for Europe, an airline group representing over 70% of European air traffic, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have expressed concern over amendments to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) made by the EU parliament.

On June 8, 2022, the EU parliament proposed amendments to the Fit for 55 revision of the European ETS that would expand the scope of the flight emissions rule to include all flight departures from the European Economic Area (EEA) from 2024. 

Currently, the CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) agreement only covers international flights within the 27-nation EU bloc.

In its official statement, Airlines for Europe warned that this could lead to a potential double-burden for carriers, who may have to pay for the same emissions twice, through the ETS and the international scheme, CORSIA.

Airlines for Europe believes that global carbon pricing is a better solution to incentivise the deployment of decarbonisation technologies .

The airline group also said that in 2019, airlines spent €950 million on ETS compliance, having to buy certificates for 60% of their emissions at a price of €25 per ton. Buying allowances for 100% of 2019 emissions at today’s carbon price of €80 per ton would amount to ETS compliance costs of €5.2 billion annually. 

Airlines for Europe warned that ETS costs could reach €6 billion by 2025, even as aviation emissions decline. The group also called on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to “negotiate, design and implement a true global carbon pricing scheme at its upcoming high level meetings”.

Meanwhile, IATA has also released an official statement regarding the proposed revision to the ETS, stating that, “expanding the EU ETS scope to include all flights leaving the EU would lead to serious distortion of competition and weaken the global competitive position of EU airlines and hubs”.

“This decision by the European Parliament is disturbing because it endangers international cooperation to tackle aviation’s climate change impacts,” IATA said.

“We call on the European Council to clearly state its determination to seek a multilateral solution at ICAO’s 41st Assembly later this year, and to strongly reject the expansion of ETS voted yesterday by the Parliament,” the statement continued.


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