Aviation firms issue warning on emissions scheme

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is threatening jobs and trade, seven leading aviation companies have warned political leaders across Europe.

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Airbus are among seven firms which have voiced concern about trade-related retaliation by countries not complying with the carbon tax, which faces opposition from powerhouses such as China and the US.

The opposition campaign is being led by Airbus and has the support of the chief executives of BA, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Air France, Air Berlin and Iberia.

Letters have been sent to leaders including David Cameron, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Francois Fillon.

In a draft of the letter seen by the BBC, the companies urge politicians to pursue a “compromise solution … which will mitigate third-country concerns whilst protecting the environmental integrity of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme”.

They believe that the proposals should be put on hold until a global plan for carbon emissions is agreed.

“Trying to impose a scheme on flights outside of Europe risks retaliatory action against EU airlines and EU trade at a time when the European economy is under severe pressure,” a BA spokesman said.

“The amount of resistance to the EU’s plans shows that the European Commission needs a Plan B in case there is retaliatory action.”

“The measure is threatening more than 1,000 jobs (at Airbus) and another thousand through the supply chain,” Airbus chief executive Thomas Enders is quoted as saying.

The boss of EADS, the parent company of Airbus, Louis Gallois said last week that China had suspended the purchase of aircraft made by European manufacturers because of the levy.

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