(Jun 18, 2007)


EU and US to cut aircraft emissions by improving traffic control


By Aoife White
From AP


BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - The European Union and the United States said Monday they would cut emissions from aircraft by improving air traffic control systems.

But the agreement announced Monday does not head off a fight over the EU's separate plan to make all airlines that fly to Europe trade carbon permits.

The European Commission and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said the plan they announced Monday would let them quickly put in place new emission-reduction technologies and methods that would reduce greenhouse gases released from aircraft.

These include using a system that reduces engine power when landing planes that saves fuel, cuts down on noise and releases less carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

The EU and U.S. said that they were working with industry to test environmental benefits of new measures that would involve aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing Co., the airlines Air France-KLM, SAS AB and Delta Air Lines Inc., the delivery service FedEx Corp. and aviation navigation services.

But the EU's executive arm insisted that this research program was only part of its push to cut emissions from aviation - growing rapidly as a new wave of low-fare airlines has encouraged more people to fly more often and in greater numbers.

''It supplements our proposal to include aviation in the emission rights trading system,'' EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said.

U.S. officials have warned that including non-European airlines in the EU cap-and-trade program may break international aviation and trade law.

Europe wants all airlines that fly within the EU to trade pollution allowances beginning in 2011, forcing them to buy more if they want to increase their flights.

All airlines flying to the EU would then join the program a year later - a move that would hit U.S. airlines on their lucrative trans-Atlantic routes.

The EU says the plan would give the industry a financial incentive to switch to cleaner technology or cut back routes because they could sell their unused permits to others.

Earlier this month, European airlines complained that the EU trading program - as it stands - would cripple them with annual costs of 4 billion euros ($5.4 billion) that would stifle growth and come close to wiping out their profits.


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