Wednesday, May 23, 2012

IATA Encourages China's Air Freight Growth but Criticises EU Emissions Trading Policy

'Nobody Wants a Trade War' says CEO
Shipping News Feature

CHINA – EUROPE – As a footnote to their latest press release the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has taken the opportunity to speak out against the unilateral policy being adopted by the European Union over pollution with its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The organisation also used the opportunity to prompt China to upgrade safety standards for both passenger and cargo air carriers with the country now ranking second in the world for domestic passengers, seventh for international and fourth for international freight movements.

Historically travellers in China have often found it impossible to gain passage on certain internal flights and the widely held belief in the West was that access was frequently being denied due to the high rate of fatal accidents which would be studied more widely if international casualties were involved. Now speaking at the China Civil Aviation Development Forum 2012 (CCADF) in Beijing, Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said:

“China is looking to increase its share of world trade from 10.4% to 15%. Aviation connectivity will be critical to making that happen. Already it is prioritizing investments in airport and air navigation infrastructure. The challenge is to keep pace with rapidly growing demand, based on the global standards which underpin safe and efficient global connectivity. Global standards are at the heart of aviation. They enable airlines to connect our planet safely and efficiently.”

Turning to the thorny issue of the EU ETS the IATA boss pulled few punches on a subject that is viewed with concern by many travellers and importers and exporters within the EU and beyond. Criticisms include the fact that business currently enjoyed by EU airports may very well find its way to points on the outskirts of the Community to avoid payments on the whole leg of the journey taking money from the ancillary services which support the carriers and airports. Mr Tyler commented:

“China is in the front line of state opposition to Europe’s misguided plans to include international aviation in the ETS. The regional approach will distort markets. We believe that the EU’s unilateral action is in contravention of the Chicago Convention. And I fully understand why China views this as an attack on its sovereignty. Nobody wants a trade war. We continue to urge a solution through the ICAO process.

“I have been very clear in my communication with the Europeans that it’s not a viable bargaining position for the Directorate General for Climate Action to keep relentlessly saying that Europe has no option but to implement without compromise. We all want a solution that is global. ICAO is working on four options. Europe must be a sincere participant in those negotiations.”

To read the IATA CEO’s speech in full click HERE.

Photo: A Chinese built COMAC ARJ-21 takes off. Courtesy of Peng Chen collection.