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Aviation bosses urge EU carbon tax delay

Airline executives send letter of opposition to Cameron, Merkel and others.

Chief executive officers from Airbus, six airlines -- Air France, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Air Berlin and Iberia -- and two engine makers -- MTU Aero Engines and Safran -- have written, in opposition to an EU carbon tax, to leaders of the UK, Germany, France and Spain.

The airline executives say the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which would levy a tax on flights in EU airspace based on carbon emissions, would result in a loss of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in sales.

China, which alongside the United States opposes the ETS, has suspended $12bn in orders for Airbus jets. The French company estimates losing those orders - from China Eastern, Air China and Hainan Airlines - would result in the loss of 1,000 Airbus jobs and another 1,000 supply chain jobs.

The group of nine, while opposing an EU ETS, supports a global ETS. The nine executives wrote, in a letter to David Cameron, Angela Merkel, Francois Fillon and Mariano Rajoy:

We have always believed that only a global solution would be adequate to resolve the problem of global aviation emissions. This solution can only be found in ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization], which has recently appointed a high level dedicated group to propose a global framework for international aviation emissions by the end of this year.

The airline executives said they expect opposition in important trading markets to continue to mount, and urged the EU to consult with the EU Council and states in opposition to the ETS. "The aim must be to find a compromise solution and to have these punitive trade measures stopped before it is too late," the group said in their letter.

Tom Enders (Airbus), Alexandre de Juniac (Air France), Keith Williams (British Airways), Steve Ridgway (Virgin Atlantic), Christoph Franz (Lufthansa), Harmut Mehdorn (Air Berlin), Antonio Vazquez (Iberia), Egon Behle (MTU Aero Engines) and Jean-Paul Herteman (Safran) signed the letter.