British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh insists that the European Commission’s plans for emissions trading for the aviation sector must remain simple or risk being ineffective.

During an address on the environment to the Irish Management Institute’s National Management Conference, Walsh said that aviation’s entry to the European emissions-trading scheme was important to demonstrating the industry’s commitment to environmental protection.

Walsh stresses that emissions trading is “not a painless option” for airlines. But he says that a complex strategy will add further risks: introduction of unnecessary delays and a difficult, ultimately ineffective, implementation.

British Airways wants aviation carbon allocation under the trading scheme to be based on airlines’ emissions performance, and that the scheme should not take into account the upper atmospheric effects of aircraft.

“We urge the EC to go for simplicity,” he says. “Over-complication of a scheme that has to apply to 25 member countries will only cause delay or inconsistent implementation.

“The important thing is to bring the scheme into operation. Modifications may become necessary but a working international system of emissions trading for aviation will send a powerful message that the industry is determined to address its environmental impact.”

Commission proposals to include aviation in the trading scheme are expected to be published this summer. British Airways is pressing for the scheme to include only European Union flights, stating that an extension beyond the EU could hold up the process for years.

Source: Flight International