Chinese Airlines May Buy Boeing Instead of Airbus Over Emissions Rules
March 9, 2012 –The Wall Street Journal reports that China’s ambassador to the European Union has said that it “makes sense” for Chinese airlines to select Boeing airplanes instead of Airbus models as an objection to the EU’s taxes on aviation greenhouse gases. Louis Gallois, CEO of Airbus parent company EADS, reportedly said that the Chinese government is withholding final approval on contracts for 45 Airbus jets with a value of as much as $12 billion because of the environmental fees.
The EU countries are requiring operators who fly into or out of EU airspace to participate in an emissions trading system (ETS). Governments outside the EU, including the U.S., Russia, China, and others have objected because the emissions taxes apply for parts of flights that occur outside of EU airspace. Business jets flying to and from Europe are also hit with the ETS fees, and the NBAA and other GA groups have protested.
The move by China comes as no surprise to Airbus management, who had warned that airlines outside of Europe would object to the emissions taxes and had threatened to take action if the rules were applied. International airlines say the emissions fees could cost them billions of dollars annually.
The Chinese ambassador, and other governments and aviation groups such as the NBAA, insist that emissions rules and policies can only be set on a global scale and must be handled by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The Wall Street Journal reports that the Chinese ambassador is “optimistic we can find a solution” through ICAO.
But Airbus appears to be stuck firmly in the middle as the EU climate commissioner said all 27 countries in the EU had “repeated their full support to the EU line on aviation” as recently as last Friday. The aviation program took effect on January 1, 2012.