Europe considers extending emissions trading plan

 - January 24, 2007, 6:44 AM

The European Union’s new emissions trading requirements for aviation could be imposed on a much larger group of business aircraft than has been anticipated. According to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), the European Commission (EC) intends to extend emission trading to all aircraft weighing more than 5,700 kg (12,566 pounds). Previously, it had been expected that the weight threshold would be 3.5 times higher at 20,000 kg (44,091 pounds).

In legislative proposals introduced in December, the EC confirmed its intention to require emissions trading for all flights wholly within the 25-state EU from 2011. Beginning in 2012, the requirement would be extended to aircraft–regardless of where they are based– flying in or out of any EU airport.

The U.S. government has insisted that extending emissions trading to non-EU aircraft would be illegal, but the EC maintains that it has authority to do this under the Chicago Convention.

The latest intelligence on the EC’s emissions trading plan has prompted EBAA to ask other air transport groups to join it in commissioning a new impact assessment. The intention would be to challenge the EC’s grounds for including smaller aircraft by arguing that the environmental benefits do not justify the economic cost. EBAA has long argued that the emissions trading process would be unworkable for many business aircraft operators who have relatively small fleets and a handful of staff.

The 5,700-kg threshold would mean that aircraft of about the size of a Cessna Citation CJ3 would be subject to emissions trading, while the slightly smaller Raytheon Premier IA would be exempt. If the 20,000-kg threshold were used, the smallest bizjet affected would be an Embraer Legacy.