NBAA says emissions trading hits business aviation disproportionately

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US National Business Aviation Association president Ed Bolen has presented a powerful case to a Senate committee that Europe's unilaterally adopted emissions trading scheme (EU-ETS) particularly discriminates against business aviation.

Meanwhile, the European Business Aviation Association's May figures for business aviation activity in the EU show it to be 6.3% down on the same month last year, and the association blames part of that slump on the aggressive European attitude to aviation taxes.

Bolen told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that the EU-ETS "singles out a great American industry for discriminatory treatment".

He said: "As badly as commercial airlines are treated, non-commercial aviation is treated even worse,"

Meanwhile, EBAA president Brian Humphries points out that airlines are allocated a 10,000-tonne carbon dioxide emission threshold before they are liable for any EU-ETS payment, but non-commercial aviation has no threshold at all even though its aircraft are smaller and emit less.

Bolen told the committee that an airline can fly from Chile to Europe twice a day using a widebody jet without being subjected to the EU-ETS, because commercial carriers that operate only two flights per day to or from Europe have been deemed "small emitters", and thus are exempted from the scheme. Bolen added: "Yet a US-based farm equipment company that flies to Europe once a year on a US-built general aviation airplane will be subjected to the EU-ETS."

Humphries points out that business aircraft are not, at present, allocated a "small emitter" exemption category like the airlines are, even though business aviation aircraft are small emitters in relative terms.

Bolen told the Senate committee that the EU-ETS also creates a costly administrative burden for US-based business aviation operators "that raises serious privacy and business-confidentiality concerns, because the scheme requires US companies to provide sensitive data, including bank account information, flight data, personal information and other disclosures", which would then be in the public domain.