A freeze on the introduction of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme for aviation must also apply to flights within Europe, airline bodies have urged.

The European Parliament voted on Tuesday to support the ‘stop the clock’ proposal on the controversial ETS.

But the European Regions Airline Association and the International Air Carrier Association called for the moratorium to be extended to all flights departing and arriving at EU airports to prevent discrimination against European carriers operating intra-EU flights.

The ETS moratorium, proposed by the European Commission in November, applies to all international flights to and from the EU operated in 2012 and allows the ICAO time to find a global solution to mitigate emissions.

The full extent of the scheme will remain in place for intra-EU flights and carriers operating these are still obliged to comply with the law in full.

ETS will continue to impose costs and complexity on their European operations with little or no overall environmental benefit, the two airline bodies argue.

As a result, airlines will be financially impacted at different degrees depending on the proportion of the EU versus non-EU flights they operate.

IACA and ERA therefore refute the claim by Commissioner Hedegaard, in the debate before the vote, that “the principle of non-discrimination based on the nationality of operators has always been, and remains, a fundamental part of the EU’s position”, as the moratorium clearly creates discrimination.

Era director general Simon McNamara and his Iaca counterpart Sylviane Lust, said in a joint statement:

“While Iaca and Era support the concept of the ‘stop the clock’ proposal, the unfair two-tier system the European Parliament has voted for this week discriminates against carriers mainly operating intra-EU flights and penalises their passengers.

“Iaca and Era call for the ‘stop the clock’ proposal to be extended to all flights.”