Monday, November 21, 2011

Again the airline industry is on the defensive

It seems as if the environmental debate in the airline industry won't die down. Several years ago, around the time of the Stern Review publication, the airline industry fought to defend its environmental track record. Several industry actors and commentators admitted that the industry was caught on its heels and was not proactive in the debate; it was constantly on the defensive. You would think that the airline industry had learned its lesson...but it appears not to be.

The emissions trading scheme (ETS) has been on the table for nearly half a decade and some airlines (e.g. British Airways) were part of a test in 2008. For several years now the EU has been warning about including aviation in the ETS as a way to combat the environmental affects of aviation. Now, 2 months before implementation, the airline industry, in the form of airlines and trade groups, are starting to voice their concerns. Why have they not spoken up louder before now? Again it seems as if the airline industry had hoped that governments or squabbling would ensure that the ETS for aviation was not implemented. Instead, the scheme is going forward and at the last minute the airlines are crying foul. The industry should start to be proactive, as it is in other areas (e.g. safety), rather than reactive when it comes to political issues.

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