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Emissions trading scheme puts additional pressure on airlines

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SINGAPORE – From January next year, all airlines flying to Europe will have to buy permits for the carbon dioxide they emit.

SINGAPORE – From January next year, all airlines flying to Europe will have to buy permits for the carbon dioxide they emit.

Airlines have already been preparing for the move by monitoring carbon emissions since January 2010 and by April 2013, they will need to surrender allowances for 2012 emissions.

But the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that adding an additional tax to the industry next year will put additional pressure on a sector which is already grappling with the eurozone debt crisis.

Tony Tyler, Director-General and CEO of the IATA, said: “Let me make it very clear, we are not against emissions trading schemes, in fact, we are very much in favour of having a global system. This is a global problem, it needs a global solution.

“What is happening in Europe, with the inclusion of the emissions trading schemes that the Europeans have – it’s going to produce distortions in the market. It’s going to be very unfair on airlines operating a long distance all the way into Europe. It’s going to put enormous pressure on airlines and take a lot of money out of airlines.”

IATA added that airlines could instead use the money from the tax to invest in new equipment which will consume less fuel.

Mr Tyler said: “It’s altogether a misguided and wrong approach and we hope that the Europeans will do what their other trading partners in America, India, and China are asking them, and have a second think about this emissions trading scheme for aviation.”

Other than emissions trading, airlines have been making strides in sustainable aviation technology and strategy.

For example, German airline Lufthansa this year launched its first scheduled flights using biofuel, and implemented the usage of lighter containers to reduce emissions.