Airbus China voices optimism over ETS postponement

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Airbus China hopes to get back to "business as usual" following the European Union's decision to temporarily exclude intercontinental flights from its Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Government approval for $12 billion worth of Airbus widebody orders had been on hold for months as the Chinese sought to retaliate against the unilateral imposition of the scheme. Chinese carriers require approval from the government before aircraft orders can be finalised.

"What has happened is that the approval process for orders already signed for certain airlines have been suspended," Laurence Barron, Airbus China's president, tells Flightglobal.

"We hope now the suspension will be lifted, but it's too early now to say how things are going to evolve. We take this as a very positive development."

Barron also called for an international solution to deal with the issue of aviation emissions.

Earlier this year, Airbus chief executive Fabrice Bregier told Flightglobal the EU ETS has made the company's work in China "more complex". This is because while the scheme did not stop Chinese carriers from ordering narrowbody aircraft for domestic and regional use, widebody orders were stalled.

The EU announced on 12 November that it will exclude intercontinental flights from the ETS until October 2013 as a "gesture of good faith" to help find a global solution.

The EU's move is "definitely in the right direction", says Barron, adding: "I hope now we can get back to business as usual."