Airbus and partners urge EU leaders to stop ETS trade conflict

Singapore
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Nine of Europe's top aviation players have written joint letters to urge European political leaders to step in and stop an escalating trade conflict with countries opposing the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS).

"In their letters, the nine CEOs confirm that as a response to EU ETS, aviation related businesses are now faced with real concrete action with serious consequences on the European aviation business," Airbus said in a statement.

In China, approval for $12 billion worth of Airbus orders has been suspended, a move that is likely to put more than 2,000 Airbus jobs in jeopardy, it said.

It added that opposing countries are also planning retaliatory measures such as restrictions on European carriers through special taxes and even traffic rights limitations.

The joint letters were sent to Britain's prime minister David Cameron, France's prime minister Francois Fillion, Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel and Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy. The campaign is backed by Airbus chief executive Tom Enders and the chief executives of Air Berlin, Air France, British Airways, Iberia, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, MTU Aero Engines and Safran.

The chief executives said they expect the suspensions, cancellations and punitive actions to grow, and for the situation to become intolerable for the European aviation industry.

"[This is] a situation that Europe can ill-afford in this current economic climate", they said in the letters.

"We have always believed that only a global solution would be adequate to resolve the problem of global aviation emissions. This solution can only be found in ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organisation], which has recently appointed a high level dedicated group to propose a global framework for international aviation emissions by the end of this year," the CEOs said in their letters.

The CEOs are requesting consultations with the EU Council and most importantly, with countries taking retaliatory trade action.

"The aim must be to find a compromise solution and to have these punitive trade measures stopped before it is too late," they added.

They are also urging the prime ministers to use their influence in the ICAO council to quickly find an acceptable solution.

China's ambassador to the EU has meanwhile denied that the country has blocked its airlines from purchasing Airbus aircraft in retaliation to the EU ETS, but said that it does makes sense for the carriers to shun such purchases.