Climate protection in aviation: We have to stay on target

The USA is questioning the Paris Agreement before the final details have even been negotiated. The aviation industry is a step ahead of the Paris Agreement because a unique international climate protection instrument will be introduced in 2020. EU’s changes to ETS legislation might jeopardise the international consensus.

The aviation industry’s historic climate protection undertaking

In autumn 2016, all 191 countries which are members of the International Civil Aviation Organisation ICAO pulled off a diplomatic coup by agreeing a global market-based measure to control CO2 emissions. ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) makes the aviation industry the first sector in the world to commit to specific climate targets. Growth-related CO2 emissions will be offset by special UN-supervised climate protection projects from 2020 onwards. The TUI Group has actively supported CORSIA from the outset.

EU should not jeopardise its success

Now the historic agreement is in jeopardy. The US administration is already questioning the merits of one international agreement after the next. Now the EU is fuelling criticism of CORSIA. The Council of Ministers and EU Parliament aim to include CO2 emissions from aviation in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) beyond 2020. That contradicts the recent worldwide compromise negotiated by the ICAO covering the carbon footprint of all international flights, which the USA has been involved in since day one. That’s why it makes sense to take the intra-European aviation industry out of the ETS from 2021 onwards, otherwise it faces the double burden of paying into both schemes and the international compromise will be jeopardised.

Planning certainty

The aviation industry relies more than most other sectors on planning certainty and a stable legal framework. Airlines depend on receiving air traffic rights, and they need enough lead time to prepare for regulatory changes. It is clear that to support the aviation industry’s exemplary global market-based measure, the EU should put a stop to all its discussions about a special ETS path for the EU.

German airlines consumed 3.64 litres of fuel per person and 100 kilometres on average in 2016. That’s a 42 percent reduction over the 1990 level. TUI Airlines consumed just 2.65 litres in the same period, which undercuts the average by another 27 percent.

The TUI Group’s British and German airlines – TUI Airways and TUI fly – are numbers one and three on the list of the world’s most climate-efficient airlines according to the renowned atmosfair Airline Index 2017, which rates 125 airlines.

The TUI Group remains committed to climate protection. One of its sustainability goals for 2020 is to reduce its airlines’ 2015 carbon footprint by 10 percent. To achieve this goal, it is modernising its fleet, even though the aircraft are still relatively young – less than eight years old, on average. In June 2017 the TUI Group ordered 18 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft as the first European tour operator to switch to this comfortable and fuel-efficient model.