When the European Commission dreamt up the Emissions Trading System, it must have seemed a great way to get airlines to compensate for, and possibly work to reducing, their emissions. In the green mood of the time, aviation seemed an obvious offender and an easy target for Brussels’ fiscal and environmental firebrands.
The problem was always going to be that Europe occupies just a small corner of the world and for the European Union to impose its own emissions-policing regime on the rest of the planet was never going to be popular, or viable.
Now it is down to ICAO to try to come up with a global compromise, that everyone is happy with. Few countries or airlines disagree that action on emissions is necessary – they just don’t want to have to pay when others do not. Kerry Reals has been following the ins and outs of the issue for years and has an update as part of our feature special on the environment in the 10 September issue of Flight International.
Elsewhere in the feature section, David Learmount has been examining – along with a number of experts – the risk of fires on board airliners and what can be done to assess and minimise it. Complacency, as with much in aviation, is the danger as our Comment article also makes clear.
Plus: in the news section, why Royal Air Force students are benefiting from early use of the BAE Systems Hawk T2 trainer, details of the FAA’s final review into the electrical issues on the 787, and the human factors behind the Super Puma crash in the North Sea.