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Emissions Tax Endangers Aviation Sector in Africa

27-March-2012

Namibia and the national airline are yet to speak out on the unilateral decision by the European Union to charge heavy carbon taxes on any flights to and from Europe.

The heavy tax is set to harm Air Namibia's flight to Europe, as the emission trading schemes (ETS) are for the duration of any flight landing or departing from Europe.

The EU says the tax programme aims to reduce the carbon footprint of jet aircraft, but the aviation industry says it could harm the entire aviation industry.

South Africa added her voice to the objections last week with the tourism minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, asking for Europe to suspend the ETS for two years.

The move has spurred talk of retaliatory measures in the form of trade wars, from countries like USA, China, Russia, Nigeria, Uganda, Australia, and now South Africa who oppose the tax. Van Schalkwyk made the remarks at the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG)'s Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva last week. Van Schalkwyk says the suspension of ETS would allow for the industry to come up with its own solution. Even though the industry has been discussing carbon tax for nearly 15 years without consensus, van Schalkwyk says this should not be used as an excuse to make unilateral decisions.

"I believe the EU should go the extra mile and give the negotiating parties in the International Civil Aviation Organisation, all of us, a fair chance to conclude negotiations on a global, sectoral emissions trading scheme," said van Schalkwyk.

The EU has unilaterally imposed its own ETS on all flights to and from Europe, regardless of the point of origin, destination or distance.

ETS taxes would be charged for the duration of the entire flight, including the time spent in other flights outside Europe, as long as the flight destination or origin is Europe.

There are also concerns about what or how the EU will use the revenues collected through the scheme, especially that a portion of those revenues is charged while flying through African skies.

The airline industry, led by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) together with its partners, including aircraft and engine manufacturers, are calling instead for an equitable global carbon emissions scheme to be implemented under the auspices of the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which is the only body mandated to set global regulatory standards for civil aviation. Air Namibia did not respond to questions on the subject.

NEW ERA: NAMIBIA

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