Europe will leave breathing room for non-European carriers if their homeland adopts an emissions trading scheme (ETS).

“If we put in place a regional scheme, we will take into account other schemes around the world. We would not subject people twice to schemes,” Daniel Calleja Crespo, director of the European Commission’s air transport directorate, said today at a media briefing in Washington, DC.

He notes the commission is still hammering out the scheme, which will likely include aviation when it goes into effect in 2012.

Calleja is in Washington, DC to attend a joint committee meeting about the first phase of the EU-US open skies agreement, which went into effect on 30 March.

He will meet with acting FAA administrator Bobby Sturgell, TSA administrator Kip Hawley and House Transportation Committee chairman Jim Oberstar.

Calleja will lobby for the inclusion of emissions trading and the easing of foreign ownership restrictions in the US during phase two open skies talks, which begin on 15 May.

A 2006 proposal easing foreign ownership restrictions in the US floundered and the latest attempt will likely face a challenge from US labour groups.

“We do not underestimate the difficulties,” Calleja says. ”We are confident we have very strong arguments. [The] future of aviation has to be a more liberalized framework.”

While EU member states have the right to withdraw newly granted landing rights if a phase two open skies deal is not reached by 2010, Calleja says he is focused on phase two success.

“What will happen if there is no agreement, let us see,” he says.

Further liberalization of traffic rights, more access to government-financed air transport, security and night flight curfews will also be discussed.

In June, the EU and the USA will discuss recognizing each other’s maintenance and technical certifications.

Calleja says if the safety agreement is signed on 12 June, the agreement will save airlines time and money.

The EU has a similar safety agreement in Canada and will likely pursue an agreement with Brazil, he notes.

Source:'s sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news