ATA Opposes Preliminary Opinion on EU Emissions Trading Scheme

The Air Transport Association (ATA) has issued a statement opposing the preliminary opinion issued by the Advocate General in the European Court of Justice regarding the lawsuit challenging the application of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to U.S. airlines.

"The Air Transport Association is disappointed that Advocate General Kokott does not believe that the European Union is bound by the Chicago Convention, the treaty governing aviation, and that the unilateral application of the EU ETS to international aviation otherwise does not violate law,” the ATA said in a statement. “ATA's view that the extension of this unilateral, regional scheme to aviation violates international law is supported by more than 20 countries, (including Brazil, Russia, India, China, Japan, the United States and many others), which recently reconfirmed their opposition to the EU.

"Today's action is an important step in the court process,” the ATA continued, “but, as it is a non-binding, preliminary opinion, it does not mark the end of this case. The opinion will provide a basis on which the judges assigned to the case can further deliberate and come to a full and unanimous decision. In complex cases such as this one, it would not be unusual for the full Court's final opinion to vary from the preliminary opinion."

The ATA had brought the lawsuit in 2009 on behalf of its members, arguing that greenhouse gas emissions should be regulated on a global sectoral basis. The ATA also argued that the policy “imposes an exorbitant tax” on airlines that could harm investment in technology to improve airline infrastructure and fuel efficiency.

The full European Court of Justice is expected to issue a ruling by the end of 2011 or early 2012.