The CEO of Qatar Airways believes the EU is using its new Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as a way of “covering up” inefficiencies in how it manages its finances.
Speaking at the Arabian Aerospace conference, Akbar Al Baker labelled the scheme an indirect tax and reiterated his previous statement that the move would hurt Middle East airlines more than European carriers, as the former were bringing more aircraft into their fleets.
“The ETS is just unfortunately a cover up of the inefficiencies of the Europe Union in the management of their finances,” he said during a panel discussion with other aviation experts.
“It is an indirect way of collecting more taxes. I don’t know what they will do with all this money.”
“It is going to be most important challenge in the future. We (Middle Eastern airlines) will be penalised more because we will be emitting more CO2 than other carriers because we will be introducing more aircraft.”
Other experts agreed that the new scheme would have a negative impact on the industry, putting additional pressure on airlines as they struggle to balance fuel costs and other challenges.
The CEO of Boeing Commercial Airlines, James Albaugh, said the ETS will not reduce the carbon footprint of airlines, but will prevent them from investing in new energy efficient technologies that would help them cut emissions.
“In terms of ETS I think I won’t do anything to reduce carbon emissions. In fact I think it will prevent airlines from buying the equipment that will help them reduce their carbon footprint," he said.
“We have to continue to invest in technology.”
The ETS was introduced by the EU in 2005 as part of a wider initiative to combat climate change and reduce EU carbon emissions.
Under the scheme, large emitters of carbon dioxide within the EU must monitor and annually report on their carbon emissions, and pay allowances equivalent to their emissions to the government.
The decision to extend the ETS to airlines using EU airspace has attracted criticism from some of the biggest industry players, some of whom are already struggling to balance fuel prices and other costs against lower spend by passengers.
Al Baker, one of the scheme’s biggest critics, said the ETS was one of the most pressing issues facing the global aviation industry today.
During the panel discussion, he added that the situation was being made worse by high airport charges and delays with aircraft deliveries.
“Airport charges are being increased at a time when the industry is already struggling,” he said.
“Delays in deliveries will also stifle the opportunities we have.”
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