BA boss urges industry to unite to reduce emissions
British Airways’ chief executive officer Rod Eddington has urged the global aviation industry to work together to reduce carbon dioxide emissions or face the risk of additional taxation.
Eddington was speaking Thursday at the Aviation and Environment summit in Geneva, organized by the Air Transport Action Group, Airports Council International, International Air Transport Association, International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services organization.
“The recent suggestion by French President Jacques Chirac that our industry can be used as a “cash cow” to solve the problems of Africa is just the latest in a long series of proposals to tax or charge aviation with environmental levies in some way. If we are to resist damaging and punitive proposals of this sort, we need to define and promote our industry response more clearly,” Eddington said.
British Airways said emissions trading is the most economically and environmentally effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions levels. The airline is trading emissions in a voluntary British government scheme and supports the inclusion of aviation into the European Union’s emissions trading scheme from 2008.
“Our experience is that trading is a workable approach and need not be excessively costly. A tax would not only be bad for the economics of our industry, it would also be bad environmental policy. Taxes which doubled the cost of aviation fuel and cost airlines and their passengers '50 billion each year would cut less than 0.5 per cent off the growth of air traffic over a 30 year period,” said Eddington.
Eddington also said that improvements in air traffic management systems, including shorter flight path routes, less stacking and the use of continuous descent landings, can help cut emissions by up to 12 percent. He added that many air traffic management systems are government controlled and governments have an important role to play in delivering improved environmental performance through better infrastructure.
Eddington is retiring as CEO of BA at the end of September, with Willie Walsh replacing him.