In parallel with issuing its latest views on air transport and the environment, the European Commission (EC) has launched a public consultation on the Internet on how to reduce the impact of aviation on climate change.

The consultation, which is aimed at both companies and the general public to obtain a wide variety of opinions, is being viewed sceptically by the Association of European Airlines (AEA). It says that while it welcomes the broadening of the debate, it is concerned that the format of the enquiry could ultimately lead to misinformed and ultimately damaging response patterns.

"The questionnaire aimed at individual citizens appears to pre-suppose that taxes and charges are required for environmental purposes," says AEA secretary general Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus. Airlines fiercely resist using taxes for this purpose. "This flies in the face of studies undertaken at international level which demonstrate that such measures have only a negligible impact on the environment," he says.

The AEA says the results of the survey, which will run to mid-May, "will feed into a strategy planned for this summer focusing on how economic instruments could be used to reduce the climate change impact on aviation."

The broad-based aviation coalition Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) convened a conference in Geneva during March to move towards a common industry-wide approach on green issues. The group vowed to work together to more strongly highlight civil aviation's efforts in reducing its environmental impact.

Source: Airline Business