Emirates chief slams British, EU aviation policies

LONDON, July 14, 2008 (AFP) – The president of Emirates airline on Monday criticised the policies being imposed by Britain and the European Union on airlines that he said were stifling moves towards greater efficiency. In a comment piece in the Financial Times, Tim Clark wrote that the aviation industry was going through “the greatest crisis” in its history, and while it was working towards becoming more environmentally friendly, the EU’s emissions trading system and Britain’s aviation duty were holding it back.

“We will not achieve this (eco-efficiency) — or indeed survive as profitable entities — if punitive taxes, charges and unfair trading schemes continue on their present trajectory,” Clark wrote.

EU lawmakers voted overwhelmingly last week to force airlines to rein in their fast-growing greenhouse gas emissions from 2012, as the sector struggles to cope with soaring fuel prices.

Under a draft law, all airlines operating in the 27-nation European Union, including foreign carriers, will have to participate in the bloc’s emissions trading scheme (ETS), the EU’s main mechanism for fighting climate change.

In Britain, meanwhile, the government has sought to impose an air travel duty that would be