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Norwich airline passengers face higher costs from EU scheme, industry boss warns

PUBLISHED: 10:28 10 November 2012 | UPDATED: 10:58 10 November 2012

Norwich International Airport. Eastern Airways. waiting in terminal. Photo: Antony Kelly

Norwich International Airport. Eastern Airways. waiting in terminal. Photo: Antony Kelly

ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC © 2008

Passengers are facing a raw deal and higher fares from an EU scheme to tackle climate change, a leading industry boss has claimed.

Bryan Huxford, chairman of Eastern Airways, which operates flights out of Norwich, said the so-called Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) is also heaping pressure on small airline carriers and has called on the government to review the scheme which he said is costing the company more in administration than it does to buy carbon allowances.

Eastern Airways has three scheduled daily services from Norwich Airport to Aberdeen and operates more than 800 flights a week nationwide.

The ETS was introduced earlier in January to make airlines drive down their carbon footprint by charging them for exceeding carbon emission limits.

Mr Huxford believes carbon emissions are already being reduced by the rising cost of fuel, which is forcing his company to be more efficient. He said: “The ETS introduced is good in theory but for Europe’s smaller carriers it is a disaster in practice. I find it unbelievable that the scheme results in the cost of administration equalling or exceeding the cost of compliance for smaller airlines.

“Eastern Airways takes very seriously the need to minimise the impact of its flights on climate change, even though we already have an aircraft fleet that is extremely fuel efficient. However, the ETS for aviation, implemented by the European Community, is far from being in the interests of Eastern Airways’ customers.

“We do not object to buying the carbon allowances but we see no sense whatsoever in obliging our passengers to pay through their fares for complex and precise reporting procedures that contribute nothing to environmental protection.”

He added: “The high price of fuel already gives us the strongest possible incentive to be as fuel efficient as possible without the imposition of ETS.”

Mike Ambrose, director general of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) backed Mr Huxford, and urged the EU to listen.

“Forcing small airlines to adopt reporting procedures that demand a level of precision many dimensions different from the inexactness of climate change science is absurd,” he said.

“If the European Commission and European Parliament members had listened to the industry when the scheme was drafted, such a ridiculous situation would have been avoided.”

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