(Geneva) The International Air Transport Association (IATA) gave a cautious welcome to the inclusion of aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS). The directive announced by the Commission today will cover emissions from flights within the EU from 2011 and all flights to and from Europe from 2012. Airlines will be able to trade emissions with other sectors.

Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO said, “We support emissions trading as one of a package of measures to reduce CO2 emissions. If properly designed, it can play an important role in tackling aviation’s contribution to global warming along with investment in technology and more efficient infrastructure. But it must be implemented in the right way. The Commission has taken many of our concerns on board but faces two major challenges if it is truly committed to tackling emissions".

First, Europe has the power to reduce aviation CO2 emissions 12% by implementing the Single European Sky. We have 34 air traffic control centres in Europe but only one in the USA for a similar traffic and land size. This leads to inefficiencies, delays, and too much time in the air. Secondly, when aviation is brought into the ETS the Commission must follow the guidelines that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will produce next year. We must have a global approach for a global problem.”

“I applaud the leadership of Vice President Barrot in ensuring many of the concerns of aviation were addressed. The directive still needs more work as it goes to the Parliament and the Council. For example, we are concerned about the legal implications of applying the scheme outside Europe from 2012. We look forward to working with Mr Barrot and the Commission to improve the design of the package.”

“Aviation is working hard to reduce emissions. Last year we shortened 300 routes saving 6 million tonnes of CO2; in the last two years we improved fuel efficiency 5%. The Commission has implemented a single European currency, it has a European emissions trading scheme. Now it must implement the Single European Sky to reduce emissions yet further. ”