European Low Fares Airline Association secretary general John Hanlon has thrown his support behind the European Union's emissions trading system, becoming a lone voice amid a sea of increasingly fierce opposition within the aviation industry against the scheme.

Speaking on a panel during the World Route Development Forum in Berlin, Hanlon said that while "not perfect", ETS is the most environmentally effective mechanism available for tackling aviation's impact on climate change.

"The rate of technical advance is not commensurate with the rate of growth [in the airline industry] so we need a market mechanism," said Hanlon, making the point that "while everyone wants" a global mechanism, it is not yet available.

"We totally support the EU's conclusion that [ETS] is the most effective way of accounting for the cost to the environment with minimal cost to customers," said Hanlon.

ETS is a much more favourable solution than individual government taxes on airlines because it means the industry "can still grow by buying allowances".

"We're the unpaid tax collectors on behalf of numerous administrations," said Hanlon. "[ETS] has a cost but it is much better for the consumer [than environmental taxes]."

But ELFAA's support of ETS is drowned out by much louder voices both within the aviation industry and on the world political stage. IATA is calling for ETS to be scrapped in favour of finding a global solution through ICAO.

Meanwhile, a group of 25 countries on 30 September signed a joint declaration, in which they vowed to fight the EU on emissions and threatened to back up their outrage with sanctions against European countries and airlines.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news