The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has expressed strong opposition to a European court’s ruling that a new plan by European regulators to tax carbon emissions from aircraft should apply to all aircraft operators across the international aviation community, including those based in the U.S.

In a decision announced on December 21, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said European authorities are authorized to obligate all operators, including the airlines and general aviation, to comply with the program, known as the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS). The court’s ruling was made in response to a legal challenge questioning the applicability of EU-ETS to owners and operators of aircraft based in the U.S. NBAA is a party to the lawsuit.

“The court’s ruling goes against established policy and long-standing practice when it comes to aviation regulations,” says NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “It appears to set aside the principle, established in the Chicago Convention, that because aviation is a global industry, aviation policies should be developed and implemented on a global basis. Any new standards should be developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization [ICAO], the United Nations body established to set policies for the industry, and in fact, ICAO has been working to develop such standards for aviation emissions. The parties to the lawsuit believe the challenge to the EU-ETS is still warranted, and options are being considered for appealing the court’s ruling.”

Bolen notes that the court’s decision also appears to ignore the 1944 ICAO pact giving nations sovereignty over their own skies. The plan would tax flights from their point of origin rather than from the point they enter European airspace, in effect, taxing flights in airspace outside the EU.

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