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ATA comments on EU Emissions Trading Scheme preliminary opinion

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WASHINGTON – The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S.

WASHINGTON – The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today issued the following statement in response to the preliminary opinion issued by the Advocate General in the European Court of Justice regarding the lawsuit challenging the unilateral application of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) to international aviation (Case C-366/10 Air Transport Association).

“The Air Transport Association is disappointed that Advocate General Kokott does not believe that the European Union is bound by the Chicago Convention, the treaty governing aviation, and that the unilateral application of the EU ETS to international aviation otherwise does not violate law. ATA’s view that the extension of this unilateral, regional scheme to aviation violates international law is supported by more than 20 countries, (including Brazil, Russia, India, China, Japan, the United States and many others), which recently reconfirmed their opposition to the EU.

“Today’s action is an important step in the court process, but, as it is a non-binding, preliminary opinion, it does not mark the end of this case. The opinion will provide a basis on which the judges assigned to the case can further deliberate and come to a full and unanimous decision. In complex cases such as this one, it would not be unusual for the full Court’s final opinion to vary from the preliminary opinion.”

The ATA, which brought the legal action in 2009 on behalf of all of its members, said in its argument that aviation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions should be regulated on a global sectoral basis. ATA also opposes the application of the EU ETS to U.S. airlines on policy grounds, as it imposes an exorbitant tax that siphons away from aviation the very funds it needs to continue to invest in aircraft technology, sustainable alternative fuels and infrastructure advances to build upon its strong record of fuel efficiency improvements and emissions savings.

ATA is part of an industry wide aviation coalition that has committed to continuing the industry’s strong record of GHG emissions savings and has proposed the adoption of a global sectoral approach by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations body charged with setting standards for international aviation. In October 2010, ICAO adopted a resolution with targets and principles broadly consistent with the industry’s approach, demonstrating that the industry and governments are coalescing around a common platform for addressing aviation GHG emissions at the global level.

The full European Court of Justice is expected to issue a ruling by the end of 2011 or early 2012.