Wednesday’s ruling to include aviation in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) “further isolates the EU from the rest of the world and will keep in place a unilateral scheme that is counterproductive to concerted global action on aviation and climate change,” Airlines for America (A4A) said in an initial reaction (ATW Daily News, Dec. 21). 

A4A said  the CJEU “did not fully address legal issues raised and has established a damaging and questionable precedent by ruling that the European Union can ignore the Chicago Convention and other longstanding international provisions that have enabled governments around the world to work cooperatively to make flying safer and more secure, and to reduce aviation’s environmental footprint.”

A4A, together with two of its members—United Continental and American Airlines—initiated the legal challenge to the EU’s inclusion of aviation in its ETS in 2009 and said it will review its options to pursue in the English High Court. The legal action was initially brought in a UK court, which referred the case to EU’s Court of Justice. 

IATA said it was disappointed at the CJEU’ ruling to uphold EU plans to include international aviation in its ETS from 2012 and noted the decision represents a “European legal interpretation of EU ETS.”

“The CJEU decision may reflect European confidence in European plans. But that confidence is by no means shared by the outside world where opposition is growing,” IATA’s DG and CEO Tony Tyler said.

EU’s climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said Wednesday she was “very satisfied” with the ruling of Europe’s highest court. “A number of American airlines decided to challenge our legislation in court and thus abide by the rule of law. So now we expect them to respect European law,” she said.

Also the European Low Fares Airline Assn. (ELFAA) welcomed today’s judgment and urged its colleagues in the industry “to halt their resistance and lend their constructive support to the implementation of EU ETS” from January.

“The European Commission has rightly preferred EU ETS over all other options, including taxation, and views it as the MBM [market based measures] which will achieve the greatest environmental benefit at the lowest cost to society. Airlines are not being forced to change behavior but are rather incentivized to do so,” it said.