Those noble saviours of Planet Earth, the EU political elites, have simultaneously managed to inflame both the Chinese, and, their own manufacturers of passenger aircraft.
From the Irish Times:
European aviation bosses have urged political leaders to stop an escalating global row over an EU carbon levy, warning it is threatening their industry and has already led to $12 billion worth of orders being suspended.
Airbus CEO Tom Enders said 2,000 positions were at risk after China – at the forefront of opposition to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) – had suspended orders for Airbus aircraft worth $12 billion.
Alongside Mr Enders, eight chief executives of airlines and engine makers wrote to the leaders of Britain, France, Spain and Germany saying they expected “suspensions, cancellations and punitive actions to grow as other important markets continue to oppose ETS”.
All airlines using EU airports must pay to offset their carbon emissions under a new law that took effect in January. The carbon cost for a flight from China to Europe is around €2 per passenger but as the scheme is being phased in gradually, airlines will not face a bill until April next year.
In addition to Airbus, the signatories included the heads of airlines British Airways and Iberia, owned by International Airlines Group, Air Berlin, Air France, Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic.
The heads of French and German aircraft engine makers Safran and MTU Aero also signed the letter.
In a separate letter to European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, Enders deplored the “very serious situation” caused by the threat of reprisals from China and other nations.
“It seems that these threats are now becoming very real and are being translated into concrete action, which is starting to have serious consequences on the European aviation business,” he wrote in his letter, also obtained by Reuters.
The European Commission said it was forced to act alone after the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization failed to come up with a viable global scheme. It has said it will modify its law if the ICAO, which has stepped up work on its own system, comes up with a scheme.
On Friday a meeting of environment ministers from all 27 EU nations reiterated they were fully behind the EU scheme.
China, the world’s fastest-growing airline market, is a major purchaser of both Airbus and Boeing jets.
It tends to buy in large quantities, through a central purchasing entity, before the jets are allocated to individual airlines, but final Beijing government approval is needed before the aircraft can be delivered.
“It is not just China’s airlines and industry association opposing the scheme. Now the whole world is opposing it,” Cai Haibo, deputy secretary-general of the China Air Transport Association (CATA), told Reuters.
Critics of the EU’s plans say they do not just affect profitability, but touch on national sovereignty, making the risk of a trade war that could disrupt air traffic more serious.