Dutch government KLM €3.4 billion rescue plan, with some conditions

The Dutch government has said the national airline, KLM, is set for a €3.4 billion bailout package, if it meets certain targets, but this still requires regulatory approval from Brussels, in case it conflicts with EU state-aid rules. KLM was promised between €2-4 billion at the end of April, when both the Dutch and French governments pledged financial support to the Air France-KLM group. France’s €7 billion bailout was quickly approved by the EC’s competition regulators. The €3.4 billion package would be made up of €2.4 billion in state-guaranteed bank loans and a €1 billion direct loan. The loan would be provided in tranches and last up until 2025, with each payment only made after the government has judged that conditions are being adequately fulfilled.  Senior staff who earn more than three times the average salary will have a 20% pay cut. Until the state’s investment is repaid in full, no dividends will be paid out to shareholders and management will not get bonuses. Cost-cutting measures worth 15% will have to be made. The number of night flights from Schiphol will be cut, but details are not yet decided.  KLM will also have to halve CO2 per passenger-kilometre by 2030, BUT there is no cap on KLM’s total CO2 emissions. 
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Dutch government unveils KLM rescue plan

By Sam Morgan |  EURACTIV.com

26-06-2020

The Netherlands’ national airline, KLM, is set for a €3.4 billion bailout package should it meet certain employment, financial and sustainability targets, the Dutch government announced on Friday (26 June). It still requires regulatory approval from Brussels.

KLM was promised between €2-4 billion at the end of April, when both the Dutch and French governments pledged financial support to the Air France-KLM group. France’s €7 billion bailout was quickly approved by the European Commission’s competition regulators.

But the Dutch government embarked on tough negotiations, as lawmakers were in disagreement about what kind of conditions to set for the airline.

The Dutch government’s proposed €2-4 billion aid package for national airline KLM was debated in parliament on Wednesday (6 May), but lawmakers are still divided over what strings – if any – to attach to the bailout.

On Friday morning, ministers revealed a €3.4 billion package made up of €2.4 billion in state-guaranteed bank loans and a €1 billion direct loan.

The latter will be provided in tranches and last up until 2025, with each payment only dispersed after the government has judged that its conditions are being adequately fulfilled.

“This package is necessary to ensure that KLM and Air France can continue to fulfil the important role they play in our economies,” said Minister for Finance Wopke Hoekstra, who also warned that job losses will nevertheless “likely be unavoidable”.

“We have been trying to distribute the pain as fairly as possible in recent weeks,” the minister added. As part of the deal, senior staff that earn more than three times the average will be asked to forego 20% of their salary.

Until the state’s investment is repaid in full, no dividends will be paid out to shareholders and management will not be eligible for bonuses. Cost-cutting measures worth 15% will also have to be made.

KLM CEO Pieter Elbes said “this is a very important step and I express my gratitude on behalf of all KLM colleagues to the Dutch state and the banks for their confidence in our organisation and our future.”

The government also made it clear in its announcement that it expects KLM and Air France to both undergo restructuring.

The French government’s €7 billion bailout of its flag-carrier and its insistence on reducing short-haul domestic flights should not be seen as an opportunity for low-cost airlines like Ryanair and easyJet, Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Monday (22 June).

Strings attached

The €3.4 billion rescue deal is dependent on KLM making changes to the way it does business, including reducing the number of night flights from the country’s main hub at Schiphol.

However, in a letter to parliament, government ministers do not establish a timeframe for the reduction of night flights, although it does elaborate that it will be a stepped approach to cull them from 32,000 to 25,000.

Making those cuts will be dependent on the use of a nearby airport as a spillover hub and more substitutions of flights with train journeys to cities like Brussels and Dusseldorf, the letter adds.

KLM will also have to cut CO2 per passenger-kilometre in half by 2030 under the agreement, although using such a metric could allow for emissions to actually increase as it does not cap total output.

The Austrian government’s €600 million bailout of its national airline has been praised for establishing tighter green goals, which also includes a ticket price floor.

Schiphol airport is one of the busiest hubs in Europe and a major generator of employment. As part of the agreement, the government is extending its termination notice period from nine months to five years, in order to reduce any uncertainty about its hub-status.

There is little of substance in the agreement about passenger rights and whether KLM should spend the money on refunding passengers that request reimbursement. However, the Dutch government recently confirmed it would tell its regulator to start enforcing EU rules after previously ignoring them.

The green compromise in the Austrian Airlines bailout

After weeks of negotiations, it is now set: Austrian Airlines (AUA) is saved from insolvency by the Black-Green government. For the Greens, who are in a governing coalition in Austria for the first time, it was a difficult litmus test. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Desperately seeking Brussels’ approval

The Dutch government made a pre-notification to the Commission in order to assess whether its package would flout state aid rules. A full notification was made to the competition regulator earlier on Friday.

On Thursday (25 June), the EU executive gave the green light to Lufthansa’s €9 billion bailout after a lengthy assessment and negotiation period. The KLM package is likely to have an easier time, as the Dutch state is already a shareholder in the firm.

Both France and the Netherlands own 14% of the airline group, while the German government will come on board as its flag-carrier’s largest shareholder with 20%. That development was one of the main factors to trigger Commission concerns.

The virus outbreak’s devastating impact on the aviation industry has prompted governments to shell out more than €30 billion in aid so far.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/aviation/news/the-green-compromise-in-the-austrian-airines-bailout/ 

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See also

 

France to ban commercial flights on shortest domestic routes

France plans to ban commercial air travel on the country’s shortest domestic routes in a bid to prevent low-cost carriers picking up links Air France-KLM is being forced to abandon as part of the terms of a Government bailout package. The aim of stopping Air France from flying domestic routes, if the trip can be made by train in under 2.5 hours, to cut CO2 emissions, is not to allow in other airlines instead. Austria has also placed constraints on short-haul flights, as part of a state-funding plan for Deutsche Lufthansa. The domestic flights ban would include about 40% of internal French flights. The carbon reductions achieved by this would actually be tiny – about 6-7% of Air France’s total. Ryanair plans to operate 6 French domestic routes this summer, but says they are on longer routes, not included in the ban. Air France-KLM received €7 billion in loans and guarantees from the French government, and the Minister said the airline would be required to become “the most environmentally friendly airline on the planet”. However, the overall bail-out package is flawed, and is unlikely to produce the desired, necessary, reductions in Air France’s CO2 emissions.

Click here to view full story…

Air France must cut CO2 emissions, and domestic flights as condition of state aid: says France’s Finance Minister

France’s Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, has told Air France that it will have to cut its carbon emissions and domestic flights, as conditions for government financial support.  The French government has offered the airline a €7 billion package of state-guaranteed bank loans, and loans directly from the state. This is on condition that the airline map out a path to profitability and set the goal of “becoming the most environmentally friendly carrier in the world.” [Whatever that means]. Air France will have to halve its CO2 emissions per passenger, and per kilometre – compared to their 2005 level – by 2030.  The CO2 emissions from domestic flights in France will have to be halved, and that means cutting the numbers drastically.  Another condition is that 2% of the fuel used by its planes would have to be derived from alternative, sustainable sources by 2025. [Problem is there are almost no properly environmentally “sustainable” fuels, and pushing for them is likely to increase deforestation and loss of land for food growing, and for wildlife]. Air France also have to buy new planes, with lower CO2 emissions, from Airbus.

Click here to view full story…

 

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Committee on Climate Change progress report to government – aviation mentions

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has published their progress report, for 2020, on the UK government’s efforts on reducing CO2 emissions. It has a lot to say on aviation – far more than in its 2019 progress report. They say that iInternational aviation and shipping (IAS) should be formally included in UK climate targets, in the carbon budgets,  when the Sixth Carbon Budget is set, and net-zero plans should be developed. This has been a key demand, from environmental experts. At present aviation emissions are just taken account of. The CCC say that aviation accounts of 8% of the UK’s CO2 emissions (a briefing note in Feb 2020 for Parliament said it was 7% in 2019). The CCC also say that the UK’s airport capacity strategy should be reviewed in light of the country’s net-zero target.  Due to the dramatic impact of Covid on the aviation sector, the CCC say a household & business survey is needed,  of long-term travel expectations of the pandemic. They add that action is also needed on non-CO₂ warming effects from aviation, which probably account for double the climate impact of the CO2 alone, emitted at altitude. They say ICAO’s CORSIA scheme should be strengthened.
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These are copies of the text from the reports, where the word “aviation” is mentioned.

From the CCC’s

Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament

25.6.2020  (The Committee on Climate Change)

at

https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Reducing-UK-emissions-Progress-Report-to-Parliament-Committee-on-Cli.._-002-1.pdf

Extracts:

 

International aviation and shipping should be formally included in UK climate targets when the Sixth Carbon Budget is set, and net-zero plans should be developed.

Aviation (8% of 2019 emissions). A policy framework is needed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, including demand-side measures, efficiency and low-carbon fuels, with residual emissions offset by verifiable removals.

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The UK’s airport capacity strategy should be reviewed in light of the net-zero target. Action is also needed on non-CO₂ warming effects from aviation.

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Aviation and Shipping:

• Formally include International Aviation and Shipping emissions within UK climate targets when setting the Sixth Carbon Budget. •

Work with ICAO to set a long-term goal for aviation consistent with the Paris Agreement, and to strengthen the CORSIA scheme.

• Continue working with the IMO on global shipping policies, and updating their 2050 target. •

Commit to a Net Zero goal for UK aviation as part of the forthcoming aviation consultation and strategy, with UK international aviation reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, and domestic aviation potentially earlier. Plan for residual emissions, after efficiency, low-carbon fuels and demand-side measures, to be offset by verifiable greenhouse gas removals.

• Build on the Clean Maritime Plan to develop incentives for zero-carbon ammonia and hydrogen supply chains for UK shipping.

• Monitor non-CO impacts of aviation and shipping and consider how best to tackle them alongside UK climate targets.

• Review the UK’s airport capacity strategy in light of COVID-19 and Net Zero, including a household & business survey of long-term travel expectations.

p38

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The Sixth Carbon Budget period covers 2033-2037. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are shown on a total (‘actual’) basis, while carbon budgets are assessed against the ‘net carbon account’ (Box 2.3). Emissions from International Aviation and Shipping (IAS) are not included in this figure, but would either also need to reach zero emissions by 2050 or will have to be fully offset by verifiable removals.

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Early 20s

Emissions removed from the atmosphere by trees, soils or engineered carbon removal to offset residual emissions in sectors where low-carbon alternatives are limited (predominantly aviation and agriculture – Figure 1.2).

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Mid 20s

Emissions removed from the atmosphere by trees, soils or engineered carbon removal to offset residual emissions in sectors where low-carbon alternatives are limited (predominantly aviation and agriculture – Figure 1.2).

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Greenhouse gas removals, second half of the 20s

Initial deployment of engineered greenhouse gas removals (e.g. BECCS in power generation, hydrogen production, industry and/or aviation fuel production), driven by incentives and enabled by CO₂ infrastructure development.

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  1. v) Aviation Aviation emissions fell in 2009 and 2010 after the financial crisis, then stayed relatively flat in the early 2010s, but have been rising again in recent years. UK aviation emissions in 2018 were therefore the same as in 2008, as falls in domestic and military aviation emissions have been balanced by a rise in UK international aviation emissions. Over the same 2008-2018 period, the total number of UK terminal passengers rose by 24% to reach 292 million in 2018, with a further 2% increase seen in 2019

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More broadly, low-carbon policy costs are not balanced across the economy – some sectors, such as aviation and shipping, may have to pass a greater degree of decarbonisation costs onto their end customers. International competitiveness in these sectors provides an additional challenge.

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Emissions from international aviation & shipping in 2019 are assumed to be equal to the final BEIS estimates for 2018.

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Aviation. Total aviation emissions increased by 0.8% from 2017 levels to 39.3 MtCO₂e in 2018. Within this, emissions from international flights increased by 1.1% to 36.7 Mt, emissions from domestic flights fell by 5.9% to 1.5 Mt, and emissions from military aviation fell 0.6% to 1.1 Mt. Overall, emissions from domestic and international aviation in 2018 were 124% above 1990 levels.

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viii) Aviation There are currently no indicators established for aviation, and last year no policy milestones were set by the Committee for 2019-20.

However, there have been a number of UK developments:

The ‘Future of Flight Challenge’ was announced in August 2019. Funding of £125 million will be provided via the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund with £175 million from industry, to develop new aircraft technology including electrification.117

  • DfT’s Aviation & Climate Change Consultation was due out in early 2020, but is currently delayed due to COVID-19. A final Aviation Strategy is due to follow. • In February 2020, the Court of Appeal ruled the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) underpinning expansion at Heathrow airport unlawful due to a failure to consider the Paris Agreement, non-CO₂ impacts and emissions after 2050. This verdict is being appealed in the Supreme Court. Indicators for aviation will be developed following our advice on the Sixth Carbon Budget later this year. (December)

 

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Via the Sustainable Aviation grouping, the UK’s aviation sector has committed to achieving net-zero CO₂ emissions by 2050. Their roadmap has high demand growth mitigated by large improvements in efficiency, uptake of sustainable aviation fuels and significant use of market based measures (offsets and removals).135

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The proposed UK ETS covers emissions from the power sector, large industrial facilities, domestic aviation and flights to Europe. In principle the scope of the scheme could be extended to include nearly all UK GHG emissions. 

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Though decarbonising aviation and shipping are longer-term priorities, action now is required. The Government should:

• Continue to work via the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to reduce International Aviation and Shipping (IAS) emissions, setting ambitious long-term goals and developing robust mechanisms to achieve these.

• Formally include IAS emissions within the UK’s climate targets as set out in our September 2019 letter.20 https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Letter-from-Lord-Deben-to-Grant-Shapps-IAS.pdf

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Our Sixth Carbon Budget advice will again consider and make recommendations as to the inclusion of IAS emissions within UK Carbon Budgets.

  • Building on the UK’s Clean Maritime Plan, develop incentives for new low-carbon ammonia and hydrogen supply chains and accompanying port infrastructure, with the UK’s first clean maritime cluster built by 2030.
  • • Commit to an ambitious Net Zero goal for UK aviation in the forthcoming Aviation & Climate Change Consultation, with UK international aviation reaching net-zero by 2050, and domestic aviation potentially before 2050. Efficiency and low-carbon fuel measures should be supported, with demand-side policies also introduced to ensure emissions stay on track to net-zero given the availability of verifiable GHG removals.
  • • Monitor non-CO2 impacts of aviation and shipping and consider how best to tackle them alongside UK climate targets.
  • • Review the UK’s airport capacity strategy in light of COVID-19 and the Net Zero transition. This should include a survey of UK households, businesses and public-sector organisations to gauge how leisure and business travel expectations have changed post-COVID, and the likely permanence of these changes.

 p180

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9 December 2020

Advice on the Sixth Carbon Budget

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) will publish its recommendation on the level of the Sixth Carbon Budget in December 2020. The Sixth Carbon Budget, required under the Climate Change Act, will provide ministers with advice on the volume of greenhouse gases the UK can emit during the period 2033-2037.

It will set the path to the UK’s new net-zero emissions target in 2050, as the first carbon budget to be set into law following that commitment

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From the CCC’s 

Reducing UK emissions 2019 Progress Report to Parliament

July 2019

at

https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/CCC-2019-Progress-in-reducing-UK-emissions.pdf

 

2019 report

Emissions across the economy (including international aviation and shipping) fell 40% from 1990 to 2018. Over the same period, the UK economy grew by 75%. In 2018 emissions fell 2% and the economy grew by 1%. This record of growing the economy and cutting emissions provides a powerful international example that can help encourage others to increase their own ambition.

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priorities for 2020

Formal inclusion in Climate Change Act targets

 

2 Formally, international aviation and shipping are not included in the carbon budgets. However, the budgets are set lower in order to leave ‘headroom’ for these emissions, consistent with their eventual inclusion in the 2050 target.

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6 Emissions for non-CO2 emissions, and international aviation and shipping (IAS) is only available for 2017. The 2018 non-CO2 emissions have been estimated by adjusting the 2017 non-CO2 emissions total in the 1990-2017 greenhouse gas inventory in proportion to the percentage difference between the estimates for the 2017 and 2018 non-CO2 emissions in the most recent Energy and Emissions Projections published by BEIS. Emissions from IAS are assumed to be the same as in 2017.

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Aviation. Total aviation emissions increased by 3.5% to 36.5 MtCO₂e from 2016 to 2017, the latest year for which data is available. Within this, emissions from international flights increased by 3.6% to 35.0 Mt and emissions from domestic flights by 2.6% to 1.5 Mt. Overall, emissions from aviation in 2017 were more than double 1990 levels.

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Carbon markets. The UK was an advocate for strong rules on ‘additionality’ and ‘no double counting’ in the eligibility guidelines for the CORSIA offsetting scheme for the aviation industry, published in March 2019. The UK should continue to support the highest possible standards for market-based mechanisms under the Paris Agreement at COP25 and beyond.

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The Government launched a consultation in December 2018 on its long-term vision for aviation. Within this, it accepted the Committee’s long-standing planning assumption that for an economy-wide target of an 80% emissions reduction, aviation emissions in 2050 should be no higher than those in 2005 (i.e. 37.5 MtCO₂e). However, the final Aviation Strategy has not yet been published and the Government has not set out the implications of limiting emissions for aviation demand.

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Publish a plan to limit UK aviation emissions to the level assumed when the fifth carbon budget was set (i.e. around 2005 levels in 2050, implying around a 60% potential increase in demand), supported by strong international policies.

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France to ban commercial flights on shortest domestic routes

France plans to ban commercial air travel on the country’s shortest domestic routes in a bid to prevent low-cost carriers picking up links Air France-KLM is being forced to abandon as part of the terms of a Government bailout package. The aim of stopping Air France from flying domestic routes, if the trip can be made by train in under 2.5 hours, to cut CO2 emissions, is not to allow in other airlines instead. Austria has also placed constraints on short-haul flights, as part of a state-funding plan for Deutsche Lufthansa. The domestic flights ban would include about 40% of internal French flights. The carbon reductions achieved by this would actually be tiny – about 6-7% of Air France’s total. Ryanair plans to operate 6 French domestic routes this summer, but says they are on longer routes, not included in the ban. Air France-KLM received €7 billion in loans and guarantees from the French government, and the Minister said the airline would be required to become “the most environmentally friendly airline on the planet”. However, the overall bail-out package is flawed, and is unlikely to produce the desired, necessary, reductions in Air France’s CO2 emissions.
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France to ban commercial flights on shortest domestic routes

Bid to  prevent low-cost carriers picking up links Air France is being forced to abandon

24.6.2020

France plans to ban commercial air travel on the country’s shortest domestic routes in a bid to prevent low-cost carriers picking up links Air France is being forced to abandon as part of the terms of a bailout package.

“If we are asking things of Air France, it’s not so that low-cost companies can come along and start their own service,” French environment minister Elisabeth Borne said Monday on RMC radio. Ryanair and EasyJet already operate services in France.

The minister’s comments highlight the potential ripple effects of environmental strings attached to the bailout of Air France-KLM, which could reshape domestic air travel.

The policies would put France in the same camp as Austria, which has also placed constraints on short-haul air travel as part of a state-funding plan for the local unit of Deutsche Lufthansa.

“We have asked Air France to accelerate its environmental transition,” Borne said, adding that this includes a “drastic reduction” in the number of flights where there is an alternative rail link of less than 2 1/2 hours.

Ryanair plans to operate six French domestic routes in the summer of 2020, but none will be impacted by the conditions set out in this decree, the Irish carrier said in a statement.

Air France-KLM received €7 billion ($7.9 billion) in loans and guarantees from the French government in exchange for agreeing to curb domestic flights by 40 per cent.

While this would include pulling some short-haul flights that operate through Orly airport, the company is expected to be able to keep services through its Paris-Charles de Gaulle hub that feed into long-haul destinations.

Citing figures from the Climate Action Network, Greenpeace France has said the measures aren’t ambitious enough because they would cut carbon emissions by just 6.6 per cent.

Borne said she favours following Austria, which has proposed imposing rules on plane-ticket prices, calling €1 and even €15 tickets “shocking” and saying she backs “in principle” minimum prices.

Austria will impose an additional ticket fee of €30 for short-haul flights below 350 kilometres and has said prices can’t be below taxes and fees, with a minimum price of about €40. – Bloomberg

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/transport-and-tourism/france-to-ban-commercial-flights-on-shortest-domestic-routes-1.4286223

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See also:

 

Airline bailouts – Has Air France been tied down by ‘green strings’?

20TH MAY, 2020 ·

By Calum Harvey-Scholes,  (University of Exeter)

Covid-19 has spread rapidly around the world, partly due to busy international transport connections. Attempts to suppress its transmission and save lives have precipitated a sudden and acute economic crisis. Lockdown measures imposed to limit the spread of the virus have resulted in a rapid contraction of flights (around 5% of services are running) and many airlines have suggested that they expect it to be three to five years or more before they fully recover – with some believing it may never fully recover. This has resulted in airlines around the world calling for multi-billion dollar bailouts.

Given the substantial carbon impact of air travel, many academics, organisations and individuals have called for Government bailouts to be tied to reducing carbon emissions (among other conditions). Many have highlighted the French Government’s €7 billion bailout of Air France, which was announced along with conditions for the airline to increase profitability as well as cut carbon emission, as a leading example. The French Economy and Finance Minister declared that Air France would be required to become “the most environmentally friendly airline on the planet”. This is a welcome aspiration given that aviation is around twice as carbon intensive as any other form of transport, and there is no viable prospect of decarbonising commercial flights within the next decade or two (with the possible exception of the smallest and shortest-range aircraft) – Indeed, in the midst of this crisis Rolls-Royce and Airbus have ended their R&D collaboration exploring hybrid electric aircraft propulsion. This blog examines the ‘green strings’ attached to Air France’s bailout agreement and reflects on how effective these policy measures are likely to be in reducing carbon emissions.

The French government, already a major shareholder in Air France, announced the airline’s bailout on television[1] with three clear concrete conditions, but it was emphasised that the plan as a whole was yet to be finalised – which makes this a valuable time to reflect on what has been stated and how it might be improved. These conditions are:

Halving overall emissions from domestic flights by 2024 (with suggestions of restricting flights on routes where there is a viable train alternative)

A target of sourcing 2% of its fuel from ‘sustainable sources’ by 2025

A 50% reduction in carbon intensity (kg CO2/passenger-km) by 2030 over 2005 levels.

Halving overall emissions from domestic flights by 2024

Reducing emissions from domestic flights (~10% of Air France’s total emissions) is a good idea: because emissions are disproportionately high during take-off and landing, short-haul flights emit more CO2 per kilometre travelled. Furthermore, short distance journeys are most likely to be easily transferred to rail. It has been suggested by the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, that routes where the journey by train is 2.5 hours or less should be minimised. Limiting short-haul flights (e.g. no flights less than 400km, or by alternative travel time) could be an effective policy contributing to achieving the emissions reduction target: it is simple, clear and cost-effective. It could also reduce the unfair competition between planes, which benefit from tax-free fuel and often subsidised airports, and trains.

There are, however, limitations to how the policy is proposed. Firstly, the emissions reduction target (and possible restriction of competition with trains) is only being applied to one airline. Without further restrictions, other carriers could simply pick up and serve the vacated routes. Secondly, cutting domestic flights means that Air France will have spare take-off slots from strategic airports, such as Charles de Gaulle in Paris. These slots could potentially be used to run more medium and long-haul flights which are both more profitable and emit more carbon per flight due to the longer travel distance. Finally, it appears that these plans are an acceleration of a planned restructuring from Air France. Their domestic carrier ‘Hop!’ posted a €200 million loss in 2019 and, as outlined above, longer distance flights are generally more profitable. In short the effectiveness of the new policy is limited in its application to only one airline and only to their domestic flights. It is not at all clear that this measure will lead to a reduction in Air France’s total carbon emissions.

A target of sourcing 2% of its fuel from ‘sustainable sources’ by 2025

Substituting fossil kerosene for ‘sustainable’ fuel is one of the aviation industry’s preferred methods for cutting carbon emissions. These fuels are either derived from oil crops, such as palm oil, or from synthetic hydrocarbons. All new fuels are in the early stages of commercial development and synthetic hydrocarbons require a large amount of electricity to produce. Given that most electricity is still generated by fossil fuels, the emissions-reduction potential of alternative fuels is questionable. This leaves us still better off using fossil kerosene in the short term; although exploring sustainable fuels’ viability may be useful over time.

Alternatively, a limited range of biofuels are viable for use when mixed with fossil kerosene. However, relying on food crops brings risks of food-fuel conflict as well as additional emissions from land use change as rainforest is clear-felled to plant biofuel crops. The cheapest and most easily-processed feedstock for bio-kerosene is palm oil; already a leading driver of deforestation globally that is partly driven by demand for biodiesel. Some EU and other research has suggested that the life cycle emissions of some biofuels are higher than the fossil fuels they displace.

Aside from sustainability concerns, the production of alternative fuels is extremely limited at present. Dan Rutherford has calculated that 2% of Air France’s 2018 fuel consumption amounts to 55 million litres, which is 10 times global use of bio-kerosene in the same year. Considering that many airlines have adopted similar targets, sourcing this amount of bio-kerosene is a challenging goal for Air France.

Finally, fuels burnt at altitude in jet engines have roughly twice the planet heating effect compared with fuels burnt at ground level. Whilst alternative fuels could reduce consumption of fossil fuels, there is not yet clear evidence that the additional heating effect due to altitude is reduced by using alternative fuels rather than fossil kerosene. Therefore, biofuel-based aviation would still have a heating effect on our climate.

A 50% reduction in carbon intensity (kg CO2/passenger-km) by 2030 over 2005 levels.
Reducing the carbon intensity of aviation is a useful target which will cut fuel use, costs, and carbon emissions per passenger-km travelled. Improvements can be made across aeroplane and engine design, traffic management, and weight reductions. The announcement of a 50% reduction by 2030 is extremely ambitious given that annual improvements have historically been 1-2% per annum. So how can Air France make such rapid improvements?

Further research into the detail of this commitment reveals that this is a reaffirmation of a commitment the airline made at the end of 2019 as part of their Air France Horizon 2030 initiative. Interestingly, the 50% reduction is not from current levels but is compared to 2005 levels – an apparently arbitrary baseline. It will reduce the fuel burned per passenger-km to <3 litres. According to their most recent sustainability update, Air France burn 3.3 litres of fuel per passenger-km. Therefore, to achieve their target reductions they need improve efficiency by around 10% from current levels, or 1% every year until 2030 – which is in line with the historical rate of improvement. This realistic 10% efficiency gain appears to have been framed as a more radical 50% improvement by adopting the otherwise arbitrary baseline of 2005. In fact this condition appears to be a reaffirmation to continue business-as-usual improvements in efficiency, no faster than any other airline.

In this light, the ‘green strings’ attached to the Air France bailout appear to be narrowly focused commitments that recycle pre-existing targets using elaborately selective framing, rather than a clear plan to step up action towards meaningful carbon reduction.

Towards policy to cut emissions
Looking forwards, in order to develop policy with a fighting chance of reducing emissions from aviation we must apply a wider, strategic lens. Fundamentally, the approach must be holistic rather than bit-part; applying to the whole aviation industry, incorporating all emissions, and treating aviation fairly with the rest of the economy. This approach requires several points of focus: the scale and coordination of policy-making; a focus on total emissions; and a reformed tax regime.

Policy scale and coordination

The appropriate scale at which to implement aviation policy is problematic. Currently, responsibility for cutting emissions from aviation has been almost entirely ceded to the UN ICAO. This approach is justified by the need for a coordinated response and to avoid risks from unilateral national action such as ‘carbon leakage’ as traffic diverts away from nations with stricter policies. For example, a tax on kerosene in the UK could merely encourage services to switch to Amsterdam or Paris for tax-free fuel. While a coordinated, international approach to policy is therefore preferable, ceding this responsibility to the ICAO is problematic. The organisation lacks transparency, has very limited powers of enforcement, and has demonstrated low climate ambition so far. This rock and hard place problem is part of why there has been so little progress in limiting aviation emissions. However, we are seeing airlines bailed out by national governments around the world, reminding us that national level governance can play a role in the aviation sector. International co-ordination is undoubtedly needed, but this must be through a new mechanism if we are to reduce emissions from aviation.

Given the unexpected and rapid impacts of Covid-19, in this case it is easy to see why the measures for Air France have been applied ad hoc to one airline. However, future governmental involvement in airline environmental policy would benefit from application to all airlines, both in order to ensure fairness and increase the likelihood of reducing emissions. Covid-19 perhaps presents an opportunity to join up action: airlines are struggling globally, with many likely to be in need of assistance before this crisis is over. For example, British Airways’ owner IAG has received a £300 million loan from the UK Government, even after BA opposed airline bailouts. Airlines around the world have received emergency support from government suggesting that an industry-wide framework could be practicable.

Total emissions

The rise in global temperatures relates to the total volume of fossil carbon we emit, and the Paris Climate Accord requires economy-wide emissions reductions. Carbon offsets do not reduce direct carbon emissions from aircraft. Regulation must focus on capping and reducing total emissions. A primary criterion limiting total emissions, either by airline or nationally, would also motivate airlines to improve efficiency so they can offer more services within their stipulated carbon budget. Such an approach contrasts with the focus above on efficiency improvements (reduced carbon intensity). Focusing on the emissions per passenger-kilometre alone does not encourage (much less require) a reduction in total carbon emissions. For example, Ryanair claim to be the most efficient airline in Europe, whilst also being the most polluting.

In many countries, such as the UK and France, aviation also remains excluded from national carbon budgets which apply to every other sector apart from shipping. Aviation should be incorporated into these national frameworks. As we reorient our economies onto a path to zero carbon, ensuring a fair contribution to decarbonisation from all sectors is important. This is particularly significant for air travel which disproportionately serves wealthier people – the wealthiest 10% consume around 75% of air travel globally.

Tax

The aviation industry continues to enjoy exceptional tax status in a number of ways. For instance, around the world petroleum products carry both excise duty and VAT, which together often constitute a large proportion of the final fuel cost, kerosene for aviation is exempt on both counts. This makes air travel artificially cheap compared to trains and sometimes even driving. There is a misconception that there is an international agreement which prohibits any tax on kerosene – there is no such prohibition in any agreement. A tax on kerosene is both legally possible, fair and could reduce emissions.

Conclusion

Under current arrangements the French State has placed itself in a dilemma: they have binding CO2 reduction targets and have stated that they want Air France to lead the world in sustainability; at the same time le Maire has emphasised that the airline must improve its profitability, in order to repay the bailout loans. However, the analysis here indicates that the best way for the airline to become more profitable is to shift towards more medium- and long-haul flights and in doing so increase its overall emissions. This in no way represents the green recovery the French Government has mooted.

If the goal is a long-term strategy for decarbonisation, a case could be made for a sector-level Covid-19 recovery package. A package which supports workers and maintains jobs, in exchange for a comprehensive new framework working towards cutting carbon emissions from aviation. One substantive initial move would be to include aviation in national climate targets. Another broader approach, termed ‘Cap and Adapt’, has been proposed as an economy-wide model that could equally well be applied to a particular sector. The basic premise is that you cap the total volume of fossil fuel available at current levels, in parallel introducing policy and money to support the transformation of the energy system to renewable sources and, where needed, the reskilling and redeployment of workers.

We are currently in an exceptional moment in history, where the economy has all but stopped. This has already been met with imaginative policy responses, such as the job retention schemes devised and deployed rapidly around the world. Global governments need to do much more to recognise that creative policy to alleviate the Covid-19 crisis could simultaneously set the course for industries like aviation towards a future compatible with the net zero 2050 economy.

[1] What we know of the conditions is based on a live television announcement and so it is not always possible to discern hard conditions from suggestions.

http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/energy/2020/05/20/airline-bailouts-has-air-france-been-tied-down-by-green-strings/

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Aviation industry decision to weaken CORSIA climate plan could break ICAO’s own rules

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Aviation Industry Decision to Weaken Climate Plan Could Break Own Rules

Countries attending the UN’s aviation body meeting this week look set to weaken the only international policy to address the climate impact of aircraft. But the way the decision is being made could be in violation of the organisation’s own rules.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has for decades been responsible for addressing the rising climate impact of international aviation, and agreed the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) in 2016.

The scheme has been widely criticised for likely delivering only “modest” emissions reduction, and could now be weakened further, as ICAO is expected by this Friday to decide on a change to the baseline of CORSIA, lowering the level of emissions reductions airlines would have to aim for.

But the ability of the ICAO’s Council to legitimately make this decision has been called into question, as the organisation continues to be criticised for its opaque practices.

Legitimacy

ICAO plans to change the baseline to only 2019 emissions levels, rather than an average of 2019 and 2020 levels. That means the baseline will be far higher, owing to the huge drop in aviation emissions in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Airlines will therefore be able to emit far more before the scheme’s obligations to offset emissions growth past this baseline come into practise.

Under most post-COVID growth scenarios, changing the baseline would delay CORSIA‘s start for three to five years, according to an analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which argues this could effectively eliminate airline offsetting obligations until 2028 or later. A separate analysis by the Oeko Institute found changing the baseline could reduce the overall mitigation achieved through CORSIA by 25 to 75 percent.

But there are questions about the legitimacy of the 36-country ICAO Council taking a decision that would undermine its main climate policy for several years.

Big changes to CORSIA are supposed to only be decided at the larger, 193-strong, ICAO Assembly, which usually takes place every three years. The next Assembly is not due until 2022.

Technically speaking, the Council does not formally take decisions which can change CORSIA, they just recommend things to the Assembly,” says Gilles Dufrasne, senior policy officer at Carbon Market Watch. “Since the establishment of CORSIA was through an Assembly resolution, the Council (a lower level body) cannot change it.”

The discussion of the baseline change at the ongoing Council session was initially prompted by a request from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) lobby group. It asked for the baseline to be changed and said that ICAO should make the decision to do this by 30 June 2020.

This demonstrates the power of the lobby group within the Council, says Chris Lyle, an international aviation consultant who worked at ICAO for almost 30 years.

ICAO‘s job is to protect and promote aviation, and IATA tells ICAO what to do: in essence, that’s what happens,” he says. “IATA has asked for the base year to be brought to 2019 for obvious reasons. Because including 2020, they’d really have to start buying a lot of offsets.”

IATA points to paragraph 16 of CORSIA’s rules as proof the Council is allowed to make this change. But Annie Petsonk from EDF disputes this reading. She says the paragraph allows the Council to decide criteria for triggering changes, not to decide on these changes itself.

DeSmog understands that ICAO has itself done a legal analysis on whether the Assembly rather than the Council needs to take the final decision on the baseline issue.

Speaking to DeSmog, Green MEP Jutta Paulus notes it still is not known whether the ICAO legal bureau has delivered an opinion on whether the Council can change the baseline. “It is a pity that they are only publishing the minutes of their Assemblies, which only take place about every three years,” she says. “We would wish for more transparency.”

Petsonk says the opinion that comes out of ICAOs legal department on the baseline change matters because, “it’s that paragraph on which IATA is hanging its hat, saying that the Assembly gave the Council the authority to do something as extraordinary as in effect suspending CORSIA for six years,” she says. “This is what the effect of the baseline decision would be. This would be a much smaller number [of states], potentially a simple majority of the Council – 19 states – undoing a decision that was taken by 190.”

It would also mean countries who may have spoken in defence of stronger climate measures won’t have a voice ahead of the decision, adds Petsonk.

Earlier this month, the EU, usually the most progressive voice at ICAO advocating for stronger climate policy, decided to support the baseline change. “It was very disappointing to see that the EU really backed the airline industry asks and obviously didn’t even put up any kind of fights to try to maintain the system as it is,” DuFrasne says.

The final decision on the baseline change is expected by the end of the session on 26 June. With few countries opposing it and no campaigners present at the Council session, it appears highly likely to pass at the Council level. Whether this will be the final decision, it seems, depends on the ICAO’s legal analysis.

But even if the Council outcome is established as just a recommendation to the Assembly, the decision on the baseline change could effectively already be made, says DuFrasne. “The ICAO Council is very powerful because what it recommends is very likely to then be adopted by the Assembly,” he says. “The fact that the Council cannot formally change the baseline doesn’t really change the situation of all these negotiations happening behind closed doors.”

The changes mean “we’re just going from a bad scheme to an extremely bad scheme,” he says.

Transparency

Media and civil society are blocked from attending the ICAO Council session, meaning its impossible to know which countries are pushing what.

ICAO confirmed to DeSmog that the Council session will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on air traffic and CORSIA, but refused to give any more information, saying the Council session is closed to the media. “It is not unusual for diplomatic activity to take place without the media present,” ICAO’s press office told DeSmog when asked why it was barring the press.

Campaigners have long criticised the lack of transparency at ICAO and its refusal to give access to media and campaigners to scrutinise its decisions. “Airlines have led this massive campaign [to get public bailouts], saying ‘we’re vital to society’,” says DuFrasne. “At the same time the closed doors of ICAO allow them to strongly lobby to destroy the only international climate policy that’s regulating them.”

ICAO has restrictive policies on access to documents and meetings, no freedom of information policy, and binds NGO observers by non-disclosure agreements. Its official Twitter account has been known to bizarrely attack and block climate campaigners and researchers who scrutinise ICAO’s policies, accusing these people of “fake news” and “spam”.

The focus of the ICAO Council session on changes to CORSIA makes the transparency question particularly pertinent, says Jo Dardenne, an expert on sustainable aviation at NGO Transport & Environment (T&E). “It’s quite questionable for a handful of member states to make decisions behind closed doors overnight on a scheme already agreed by over 190 countries,” she says.

https://www.desmog.co.uk/2020/06/24/aviation-industry-decision-weaken-climate-plan-could-break-own-rules

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See earlier:

 

‘Final blow’ to aviation climate plan as EU agrees to weaken rules

There had been hopes that the EU would insist on keeping more effective means of reducing carbon emitted by airlines. The current proposals by ICAO, in their CORSIA scheme, are too weak to be effective. The EU now say they will back the CORSIA scheme, which means watering down the rules.  Airlines want the baseline period, from which to measure airline carbon emissions for the CORSIA scheme, to be the two years, 2019 and 2020. But 2020 is going to be a year of atypically low airline activity. So they want the base line period to be just 2019. That means giving airlines a free pass to pollute for the next 3 to 6 years depending on the speed of the Covid recovery. That is what the EU has now agreed to, having initially stood out against it. So airlines could save $15 billion in carbon offsetting costs, paying nothing till 2024. This weakening of the scheme would further damage the credibility of the CORSIA offsetting scheme, which is widely regarded as weak and not aligned with the Paris Agreement goals. It will now become essentially meaningless.  The ineffective CORSIA scheme undermines many governments’ stated intentions to bolster climate ambition.

Click here to view full story…

Open letter to ICAO – the CORSIA scheme should not be weakened, just because of Covid

Thirteen organisations concerned with aviation carbon emissions and carbon trading, have written to ICAO to ask that they stick to the intentions for how the CORSIA scheme is set up, and do not weaken it. The stated purpose of CORSIA is to help the international aviation sector achieve “carbon-neutral growth from 2020”. It is due to use as a baseline the aviation CO2 emissions from 2019 and 2020. However, with the Covid pandemic, airline carbon emissions will be much lower than anticipated this year. If ICAO used 2019 and 2020, the amount of carbon the sector could emit, and the cost of emitting it, would be far lower than anticipated. So IATA wants to change the rules, so the carbon baseline only considers 2019, not including 2020, which would result in significantly lower offsetting requirements for airlines compared to the current CORSIA design. In fact, under most recovery scenarios, the change sought by IATA would eliminate all offsetting requirements for the duration of the CORSIA pilot phase and potentially several years thereafter. The rules need to be adhered to.

Click here to view full story…

IATA calls for change in CORSIA baseline to protect airlines from future higher offsetting requirements

Fri 3 Apr 2020
By GreenAir online

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, IATA has called on the ICAO Council to change the baseline calculation used for the CORSIA offsetting scheme for international aviation emissions.

Under rules agreed by ICAO, the baseline is set at the average emissions for the years 2019 and 2020. For the 15-year duration of CORSIA starting next year, airlines are required to purchase offsets to cover any annual growth in emissions above the baseline.
The collapse in global air traffic as a result of the outbreak, with demand unlikely to recover this year, will lead to significantly lower 2020 emissions. This in turn will lower the baseline considerably than was previously projected and result in much higher anticipated offsetting requirements and therefore costs once the sector returns to previous levels, says IATA.
It requests the Council to make the change no later than the end of June.

In a position paper, IATA says the baseline must be adjusted “to ensure the sustainable development of international aviation and avoid an inappropriate economic burden on the sector.” It recommends that only emissions for 2019 be used for calculating the baseline.

In support of its justification for a change in the baseline, the IATA paper quotes paragraph 16 of the A40-19 CORSIA resolution passed at the last ICAO Assembly in 2019,  “… on the need to provide for safeguards in the CORSIA to ensure the sustainable development of the international aviation sector and against inappropriate economic burden on international aviation, and requests the Council to decide the basis and criteria for triggering such action and identify possible means to address these issues …”.

The IATA paper argues: “Allowing the use of 2019 emissions as an alternative would preserve the environmental benefits that were forecast to be achieved through CORSIA as the adjusted baseline would remain more stringent than what the baseline would have been without the Covid-19 crisis.”

The airline trade body is also concerned that countries already signed up to join the voluntary pilot and first phases of CORSIA, and those still considering joining, may reconsider their positions in order to protect their airlines from potential higher compliance costs if no change is made to the 2019/20 calculation. States have until June 30 to notify ICAO of their intention to join the scheme from the beginning or decide to discontinue their voluntary participation.

Accordingly, IATA urges the Council to take a decision on a baseline adjustment before this date at the latest.

IATA also calls on ICAO to urge States to extend the May 31 deadline for the submission by aeroplane operators of their 2019 verified emissions report until at least the end of October 2020. It argues Covid-19 travel restrictions and confinement measures in many countries “have made it impossible for verification bodies to conduct verification activities.”

Historically, air transport activity has rebounded quickly after previous global crises but IATA’s March 24 Covid-19 impact assessment points to the potential for a deep financial recession following the outbreak that would delay the air transport sector’s recovery to previous levels. If this was to be the case and a 2019 only baseline applied to CORSIA, this could considerably reduce airline demand for offsets, at least in the 2021-23 pilot phase.Although it is too early to predict the impact of the pandemic on total emissions from international aviation this year, IATA’s current forecast is for a 38% fall in global passenger traffic in 2020. According to IATA, global emissions in 2019 – from domestic as well as international flights – totalled 915 million tonnes. Emissions from international aviation activity, which will be covered by CORSIA, account for around 60% of the global total.

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Government announce a new “Jet Zero” council … but no details or notice to environmental organisations

In a surprise announcement at Friday’s government Covid-19 daily briefing, Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, revealed plans for a ‘jet zero’ council, that will include representatives from the aviation industry, Government and environmental groups. Its alleged goal is “to make zero emissions transatlantic flight possible within a generation.” No further details were made available. No environmental group was given any notice about this new initiative. As the principal environmental body working on aviation issues, the AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) should have been included, if the government initiative was serious – not just a bit of nice publicity for the aviation sector. AEF has written to Shapps, to say that if the ‘jet zero’ council is to be a worthwhile initiative, the Government must ensure that it does not simply provide good PR for airlines and airports about a future aspiration – while allowing current emissions to grow unhindered. The initiative must be part of a wider programme of government action to deliver the UK’s climate commitments. The council must operate in a transparent manner including engaging with environmental organisations and all relevant stakeholders. To read the letter in full, click here.

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Jet Zero Council: AEF open letter

In a surprise announcement at Friday’s government Covid-19 daily briefing, Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, revealed plans for a ‘jet zero’ council, that will include representatives from the aviation industry, Government and environmental groups.

Its goal, he said, would be to make zero emissions transatlantic flight possible within a generation. No further details were made available.

AEF has written an open letter to the Transport Secretary arguing that for the ‘jet zero’ council to be a worthwhile initiative the Government must ensure that it does not simply provide good PR for airlines and airports about a future aspiration while allowing emissions from the existing fleet to grow unhindered.

The initiative must, the letter says, be part of a wider programme of government action to deliver the UK’s climate commitments, and the council must operate in a transparent manner including engaging with environmental organisations and all relevant stakeholders.

To read the letter in full, click here.

And to see a news report on the announcement of “Jet Zero” see below.

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The letter says: 

 

15 June 2020

Dear Secretary of State,

Open letter re ‘jet zero’ Council

We noted with interest your announcement on Friday that the Government will create a ‘jet zero’ council charged with making net zero emissions possible for future flights. As the UK’s only NGO dedicated to making the case for policy action on aviation environmental impacts, we welcome this ambition.

We are pleased that the aviation industry has indicated to you its desire for a greener restart, something that environmental NGOs and unions have also called for. The scale of the challenge involved in tackling the emissions from aviation must not, however, be underestimated. As you noted on Friday transport is currently the UK’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter when international aviation is included. Aviation is almost completely dependent on fossil fuels and is anticipated to be the single largest source of emissions in the UK in 2050. For the ‘jet zero’ council to be a worthwhile initiative it will be essential to ensure that it does not simply provide good PR for airlines and airports about a future aspiration while allowing emissions from the existing fleet to grow unhindered.

In order to meet the objective recently set out by your department for the decarbonisation of all transport modes, the Government should, we suggest, urgently address the following questions in relation to the role of the ‘jet zero’ council.

1. How does it fit with the need for measures to ensure rapid decarbonisation of the entire aviation sector by 2050?

At present, the Government has no climate policy in place for aviation, and the timetable for developing one remains unclear after various delays to the expected consultation on the climate update to the Aviation Strategy. AEF, together with a number of large environmental organisations, has set out the policy measures that are required in order to build back better for aviation1 [ link ] . A ‘jet zero’ council could help to progress delivery of the technology options considered under section 3 of that briefing. But the actions set out in sections 1 and 2 – on the need for the aviation sector to be held to account for its emissions in the context of the UK’s economy-wide net zero law, and to pay a fair share towards delivering a green recovery – are essential for Government to deliver in parallel. There is currently little incentive for airlines to make the considerable investment that would be required to develop genuinely zero carbon technology or fuels, or to adopt them if available, for as long as kerosene remains a more affordable option. In the absence of meaningful policy to hold the industry to account, such as inclusion of its emissions in carbon budgets, the council risks looking like ‘cover’ for airlines to resume their former, unsustainable emissions trajectory.

2. How will you ensure that the work of the council is transparent and robust?

Your announcement indicated that the council would be composed of representatives from the aviation industry, government and environmental organisations. Early clarification is needed of the plans to include environmental groups on the Council as well as appropriate independent experts. It will be important to ensure transparency of the council’s work, and if possible, to allow for external engagement given the wide interest it is likely to generate.

3. How will the council’s work keep a ‘whole economy’ perspective?

Some technology options for aviation may look attractive to airlines or airports but fail to deliver the best use of resources at an economy-wide level. While some are arguing for incentives to increase the use of biofuels in aircraft, for example, the Committee on Climate Change has argued that because the supply of sustainable biomass is limited, it should be prioritised in sectors where it can be combined with carbon capture and storage. Making aircraft fuel from waste, meanwhile, reduces emissions from the waste sector but still produces CO2 when burnt so cannot be ‘net zero’ from a whole-economy perspective.

A zero carbon flight across the Atlantic within a generation, the goal of the ‘jet zero’ council, will not be enough to meet the need for all flight to be net zero emissions within thirty years – the target to which the Government has effectively agreed in passing its net zero legislation. Nevertheless, a commitment to step up the development of new technologies is essential as one of the measures that the Government will need to put in place in order to ensure that we “build back better” for aviation.

We hope that you will put in place the right measures both to ensure that the council is successful and to deliver effective policies for aviation in parallel.

We would be happy to discuss these issues with you.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Johnson Director

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Government prepares Jet Zero Council for take-off

By James S Murray    @James_BG  (Business Green)
12 June 2020

New government and industry body designed to help deliver transatlantic net zero flight ‘within a generation’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today announced a dual boost to the UK’s nascent low carbon aviation sector, confirming the formation of a new ‘Jet Zero Council’ and the award of fresh funding for green fuel specialist Velocsys.

Shapps used his appearance at the daily coronavirus press conference to announce the moves, which he said would support the government’s vision of a “greener transport future”.

Building on the recent confirmation the government is to invest £2bn in new active transport infrastructure, Shapps said the challenge was “to make transport – currently our biggest emitter of greenhouse gases – part of the solution, not the problem”.

He added that decarbonisation was particularly difficult for an aviation industry that has faced an “impossible few months” as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

“Yet, despite the obvious challenges, there’s a real determination within the industry to have a greener restart,” Shapps said. “So we’re bringing together leaders from aviation, environmental groups and government to form the Jet Zero Council. This group will be charged with making net zero emissions possible for future flights.”

He added that the government’s goal was to demonstrate it was possible to undertake flight across the Atlantic, without harming the environment, “within a generation”.

Shapps praised the work of the industry-backed Whittle Labs, which is working with Cambridge University to accelerate the development of zero carbon flight technologies.

And he confirmed fresh government funding is to provided to Velocys in support of its plans to build a major jet biofuel plant in Lincolnshire.

The company announced this morning that it had secured a further £500,000 of grant funding for its Altalto waste-to-fuels project from the Department for Transport (DfT), under the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C).

Henrik Wareborn, Velocys CEO, said “the formation of a Jet Zero Council shows that a new era of net zero carbon flying is on a credible path, at a time when we need it more than ever”.

He added that the new funding for the Altalto facility combined with formal planning permission for the project, meant “it could be producing sustainable aviation fuel in commercial scale by the middle of this decade”.

The announcements were also welcomed by Karen Dee, chief executive at the Airport Operators Association (AOA), who said the new council would help “make net zero carbon emissions for the aviation industry a reality”.

“Funding for sustainable aviation fuels will help to pump-prime an entirely new industry, generating new jobs and economic growth, while reducing emissions from international aviation,” she said. “UK airports are doing all they can to reduce the carbon emissions from the operation on the ground, the announcement today will help industry meet its commitments in the sky as well.”

However, the plans are likely to be met with more scepticism from environmental groups, which have long argued that attempts to develop zero emission aviation technologies need to backed by major new funding commitments while being combined with policy measures to curb emissions in the short term, such as an end to airport expansion and frequent flier levies.

It remains to be seen if the government provides further funding for green aviation programmes as part of its imminent economic stimulus package, which Ministers have indicated is likely to incorporate a raft of climate-related projects.

The move comes in the same week as the French government announced a €15bn bailout package for French airlines and aerospace companies, which included a series of measures to expand R&D programmes to develop electric, hydrogen, and hybrid jet engine technologies, as well as plans to halt some domestic routes that compete with high speed rail.

A raft of airlines and airports have announced net zero emissions targets in recent years, while at the same time aerospace companies have ramped up investment in new clean technologies.

However, there is considerable debate over how feasible it is to decarbonise aviation, especially for long haul flights. Successful test flights have demonstrated that small planes can operate with batteries and electric motors, but it remains a huge technical leap to deliver low emission jet aircraft.

Engineers are optimistic hydrogen fuel cells and electric motors could one day combine with conventional jet engines to deliver low emission hybrid planes, while biofuels also offer a route to curbing aviation emissions. But experts have warned that biofuels are currently considerably more expensive than conventional jet fuel and are not yet available at scale. As such, airlines are stepping up investment in nature-based carbon offset programmes – an approach that remains controversial with many environmental campaigners.

https://www.businessgreen.com/news/4016475/government-prepares-jet-zero-council

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GACC asks Gatwick to build back better – less noise, no night flights

Flights using Gatwick will slowly restart from 15th June, so noise, air pollution and CO2 emissions are set to increase again. Local campaigners, GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) are asking Gatwick to embed noise and other environmental improvements into their recovery plans. During Covid lockdown, Gatwick was only open for a period each afternoon and evening with no night flights. People normally adversely affected by plane noise have benefited hugely from the welcome break from plane intrusion.  GACC wants a continuing ban on night flights, especially as air traffic will not return to pre-Covid levels for an unknown time. The Covid pandemic is a unique opportunity for the airport to re-establish a pattern of working that is less environmentally damaging, in terms of noise and carbon. GACC is asking that as well as a night ban, airlines should prioritise flying their least noisy aircraft in their fleets – and provide incentives that encourage airlines permanently to retire older, noisier and more polluting aircraft.  Also to use air traffic control to disperse noise, minimise arrival noise impact, and achieve higher, quicker, departures.
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GACC ASKS GATWICK AIRPORT TO BUILD BACK BETTER

15.6.2020 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

Flights using Gatwick are expected to increase from 15 June when the airport’s opening hours increase and some airlines recommence operations.

Noise, air pollution and carbon dioxide emission levels are set to increase again.

GACC asks Gatwick to embed noise and other environmental improvements into the airport’s
recovery plans.

Airport requested to stay closed at night, encourage quieter aircraft and optimise arrivals and departures so noise is minimised.

Peter Barclay, Chairman of GACC says “Communities around Gatwick and under flight paths have seen significant noise and air pollution benefits over recent months. Many people value these greatly and want to see them retained. In short, we would like the airport to build back better, starting immediately.”

GACC recognises that some much-needed improvements in the airport’s noise and environmental performance will take time and investment. However, it believes there are a number of actions Gatwick and its airline customers should take now to help ensure that the impact of renewing flights is minimised in the short term.

It has therefore written to the airport asking it to:

  • Keep the airport closed at night and so avoid flights that have the greatest community and health impacts
  • Request airlines to prioritise flying the quietest aircraft in their fleets
  • Put in place incentives that encourage airlines permanently to retire older, noisier and more polluting aircraft
  • Work with air traffic control to disperse aircraft, achieve higher, quicker, departures and adopt noise-minimising arrival procedures to the maximum extent possible, recognising that airspace will be far less congested.

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Peter  Barclay is Chairman of Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign.

  • GACC’s aims are to protect and improve the environment in the vicinity of Gatwick Airport and to diminish any wider environmental impact of its operations, with particular regard to noise, congestion, air quality, light pollution and climate change.

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See earlier:

 

Gatwick has been urged to drop expansion plans by GACC campaigners due to the Covid pandemic

There are almost no flights at Gatwick, nor have there been for weeks, due to the Covid pandemic lockdown. When flights will resume is not known, but even aviation optimists think it could take 3-4 years (or more) for air travel demand to again reach the level in 2019 – if it ever does.  However, the airport says it is still going ahead ahead with plans to bring its current emergency runway into use as a full runway. But local campaign, GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has written to Gatwick’s CEO, Stewart Wingate, asking the airport to drop its expansion plans, arguing not only that there is no credible demand case, but it would be incompatible with national and local environmental goals. Peter Barclay, GACC chairman, said the group sympathised with employees and others whose jobs had been affected, but believes there is no credible case for expansion at Gatwick. It is also undesirable that the planning process would absorb council and other resources that should be focused on supporting people and businesses impacted by the pandemic. GACC says the plans for the emergency runway should be withdrawn.

Click here to view full story…

CAA says Gatwick proposal for a 2nd runway would not need airspace change, for the 50,000 extra flights on a 2nd runway

Gatwick airport has said will push ahead with plans for a 2nd runway after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ruled that the plan for another runway will not require changes to the airspace around Gatwick. That had potentially threatened to pose a significant barrier.  The CAA (paid for by the airlines) that is the regulator for the airlines, said that there would be no change to the design of flight paths in or out of Gatwick as a direct result of the new runway, adding: “The environmental impact relating to this proposal is assessed as nil.” (sic) [Presumably they are ignoring the carbon emissions which will not, of course, be nil].  Gatwick wants to have an extra 50,000 annual flights (up from around 285,000 now) by using its existing emergency runway as a full runway, part of the time. The airspace consent by the CAA effectively allows Gatwick to push ahead with a DCO (Development Consent Order), which is needed for the development, Currently the airport has been hit very hard by the Covid pandemic, with flights down by over 98% compared to last year, airlines facing almost no air travel demand, saying they may leave Gatwick, for Heathrow.

Click here to view full story…

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Wandsworth Council, and the other councils, to challenge latest efforts by Heathrow to revive plans for 3rd runway

Wandsworth Council is poised to support fresh legal efforts to cement its recent victory over plans to expand Heathrow Airport.  The airport’s owners and the construction company involved are trying and rescue the plans with an appeal to the Supreme Court. So Wandsworth has indicated it wishes to join other councils and environmental groups in guaranteeing the Supreme Court judges hear both sides of the argument. The council is seeking permission to intervene as “an interested party” due to the importance it attaches to the outcome – and the negative impact a 3rd runway would have on tens of thousands of Wandsworth residents. Being represented at the hearing would mean the council and its allies can ensure that the strong arguments against Heathrow expansion are fully aired. The government has not sought to overturn the Appeal Court ruling.  The councils that brought the case – Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames, Hammersmith & Fulham and Windsor & Maidenhead, together with the Mayor of London and Greenpeace – are working together on the Supreme Court case.
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Hillingdon  will also be seeking permission to be an interested party in the case.

Wandsworth Council to challenge latest efforts by airport’s owners to revive plans for third runway at Heathrow

June 11, 2020 (Wandsworth Council)

Wandsworth Council is poised to support fresh legal efforts to cement its recent victory over plans to expand Heathrow Airport.

With the news that the airport’s owners and the construction company involved in the rebuild are to try and rescue the plans with an appeal to the Supreme Court, Wandsworth has indicated it wishes to join other councils and environmental groups in guaranteeing the judges hear both sides of the argument.

The council is seeking permission to intervene as “an interested party” due to the importance it attaches to the outcome – and the impact a reversal would have on tens of thousands of Wandsworth residents. Being represented at the hearing would mean the council and its allies can ensure that the strong arguments against Heathrow expansion are fully aired.

Council leader Ravi Govindia said: “In February those of us opposed to any further expansion of Heathrow expansion won an historic victory against plans for a third runway.

“Our case was against the Government’s decision to allow another runway to be built. And our victory was based on the undeniable fact that such an expansion would have a hugely detrimental impact on the environment.

“If the airport were allowed to expand, there would be an unacceptable impact on pollution levels and air quality. It would mean the Government could not possibly meet its legally binding carbon reduction targets.

“It should be noted that the Government has to some degree seen sense and is not seeking to overturn the ruling – but regrettably the airport’s owners and its construction partners are seeking to do just that.

“It would be wrong for us, having won such a decisive victory earlier this year, to now sit back and do nothing, and simply let events take their course, hope for the best, and refrain from resisting these new efforts to get the expansion approved.”

In its verdict in February, the Court of Appeal found that the Government had not taken into account the requirements of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change when drawing up its national policy statement (ANPS) that supported Heathrow expansion.

The councils that brought the case – Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames, Hammersmith & Fulham and Windsor & Maidenhead, together with the Mayor of London and Greenpeace– had challenged the ANPS alongside environmental groups Plan B and Friends of the Earth.

In the immediate wake of that court ruling Cllr Govindia had described it as “a massive relief for Londoners and people in the Home Counties affected by Heathrow.

“It shows that no Government can expect to drive through major expansion plans without properly considering the full environmental and climate change impacts.

“It’s also a terrific win for the local authorities who have fought a long battle on behalf of their communities. If democratically-elected councils won’t stand up for their residents’ interests and protect their quality of life – who will?”

And he had added: “A new approach to airports policy is needed if we are to make best use of existing runway capacity and ensure that any additional growth is assessed in the context of climate change impacts.

“This must look at the effects on other parts of the UK which would lose connectivity if new airport expansion were to be massively concentrated in the South East and the Government’s own plans for levelling up between the South East and the rest of the country.”

For more information about how Heathrow affects the borough and the council’s efforts to alleviate those impacts visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/aviation.

https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/june-2020/council-to-challenge-latest-efforts-by-airport-s-owners-to-revive-plans-for-third-runway-at-heathrow/

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See also:

 

Cllr Ray Puddifoot MBE, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said:

“Hillingdon Council has been fighting against Heathrow expansion for the past 20 years and was part of the coalition that defeated the Labour Government’s expansion plan 10 years ago, and I am delighted that the Court of Appeal ruled that the Airports National Policy Statement designated by the Government in June 2018 is unlawful.

“Although the Government has accepted the Court of Appeal judgment and has decided not to appeal, both Heathrow Airport Limited and Arora Holdings Ltd have applied for permission to appeal and the Council will be requesting the opportunity to make both written and oral representations in this appeal request. The proposed Heathrow expansion is realistically going nowhere now.”

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See earlier:

 

Supreme Court to hear Heathrow appeal, against judgement on the Airports NPS by the Appeal Court, on 7th and 8th October

The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear an appeal from Heathrow Airport and Arora Group on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th October 2020 on the plans to expand Heathrow Airport by adding a third runway.  The appeal was granted by the Supreme Court on 7th May, but the dates of the appeal were announced today. Granting of the appeal by the Supreme Court followed an earlier landmark ruling by the Court of Appeal at the end of February which stated that the government has not taken into account the Paris climate change agreement when drawing up its plans to expand Heathrow. Reacting to the news of the hearing dates, Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “These dates are sooner than some expected. Perhaps because the Supreme Court is as keen to clarify this important area of developing law, as our communities are anxious to see Heathrow expansion shelved, once and for all.  The sooner this misguided project is put of its misery, the better. So we welcome these dates.”

Click here to view full story…

 

Supreme Court grants Heathrow and Arora permission to appeal against the Appeal Court ruling on the ANPS

In February, the Appeal Court ruled that the government’s Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) was illegal, because it had not taken properly into account the UK’s responsibilities on carbon emissions, or commitments under the Paris Agreement.  For a Heathrow 3rd runway to go ahead, it has to be in line with the necessary policy document, the ANPS. That document is now invalid in law, and will remain so until it is amended to rectify its deficiencies. It is for the Secretary of State for Transport to do that, but the government declined to challenge the Appeal Court judgement. So Heathrow, and Arora Holdings (the two organisations hoping to get a 3rd runway built) asked the Supreme Court for permission to appeal the Appeal Court decision. That has now been granted, by the Supreme Court.  The legal process is slow, and could take as much as a year. It will probably cost a lot of money, at a time when Heathrow is haemorrhaging money, with minimal income, due to Covid. Only a day earlier, CEO of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye admitted there would not be a need for a 3rd runway for 10-15 years.  Heathrow wants this drag on and on and on …

Click here to view full story…

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Fresh indication that the government is not intending to support Heathrow expansion

The No 3rd Runway Coalition believe the Government has given its clearest hint yet that it will not support Heathrow expansion. In reply to a question put by Slough MP Tan Dhesi, the aviation minister, Kelly Tolhurst said that “The Court of Appeal has ruled that the designation of the Airports National Policy Statement has no legal effect unless and until this Government carries out a review”. The fresh use of the word “unless” implies consideration has been given to drop the project altogether.  The DfT also state that they are focussed on responding to Covid-19 at the moment, which presents further evidence that Heathrow expansion has slipped down the agenda. The Government also say that they “are carefully considering the Court of Appeal’s judgment and will set out our next steps in due course”. However, it is unclear how long is meant by “due course”. Heathrow is struggling, with few passengers, probably having to close one or more terminals, due to restrictions on air travel for an unknown period of time, due to Covid-19. A recent review of senior staff at Heathrow shows no longer a role for overseeing expansion. Heathrow now also appears not to be pushing for the “early release” of 25,000 extra flights, as this would depend on the NPS, which has now been deemed to be invalid, by the Courts.

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow expansion blocked by Court of Appeal ruling NPS illegal, for ignoring impact of carbon on UK’s Paris Agreement obligations

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the government’s decision to expand Heathrow was “unlawful”, on climate change grounds. This is one of the most important environmental law cases in this country for over a generation, and ground-breaking for ensuring carbon emissions are properly taken into account. The judgement, which sets a key legal precedent, said the government (Grayling as Sec of State for Transport) had wrongly ignored its international climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement. Such an omission was a fatal flaw to the lawfulness of the National Policy Statement, approving a 3rd Heathrow runway. Grayling had accepted flawed legal advice, implying that there was no need to consider obligations to cut carbon, through the Paris Agreement.  This judgment has vital wider implications for keeping climate change at the heart of all planning decisions. From now on, every infrastructure spending decision in the UK could face legal challenge if it doesn’t comply with the Climate Change Act, which mandates virtually zero emissions by 2050. The government has said it will not appeal to the Supreme Court.

Click here to view full story…

The Court of Appeal found the government hadn’t considered its commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement when it backed the Heathrow runway      scheme in 2018

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‘Final blow’ to aviation climate plan as EU agrees to weaken rules

There had been hopes that the EU would insist on keeping more effective means of reducing carbon emitted by airlines. The current proposals by ICAO, in their CORSIA scheme, are too weak to be effective. The EU now say they will back the CORSIA scheme, which means watering down the rules.  Airlines want the baseline period, from which to measure airline carbon emissions for the CORSIA scheme, to be the two years, 2019 and 2020. But 2020 is going to be a year of atypically low airline activity. So they want the base line period to be just 2019. That means giving airlines a free pass to pollute for the next 3 to 6 years depending on the speed of the Covid recovery. That is what the EU has now agreed to, having initially stood out against it. So airlines could save $15 billion in carbon offsetting costs, paying nothing till 2024. This weakening of the scheme would further damage the credibility of the CORSIA offsetting scheme, which is widely regarded as weak and not aligned with the Paris Agreement goals. It will now become essentially meaningless.  The ineffective CORSIA scheme undermines many governments’ stated intentions to bolster climate ambition. 
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‘Final blow’ to aviation climate plan as EU agrees to weaken rules

9th June 2020 (Climate Change News)

EU member states will back an industry proposal to reduce airlines’ climate obligations in response to the coronavirus pandemic, at the UN aviation forum

By Chloé Farand

The climate plan for aviation is losing its last shred of credibility, after the European Union confirmed it will back an industry proposal to water down the rules, campaigners have warned.

In the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (Iata), called on the UN body responsible for aviation to ease airlines’ obligations to offset their emissions growth under a scheme known as Corsia.

Iata urged the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) to change the baseline from which emissions growth will be measured – a move it estimates could save airlines $15 billion in carbon offsetting costs.

At a time when the industry is reeling from grounded flights due to Covid-19, airlines argue current rules risk creating “an inappropriate economic burden on the sector”.

On Tuesday, EU member states backed the baseline change, which could see airlines pay nothing for their climate impact until 2024.

France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain and Greece will speak in favour of the adjustment at a meeting of Icao’s council this week. That means the rule change could win majority support.

Campaigners say it would further damage the credibility of the offsetting scheme, which is widely regarded as weak and not aligned with the Paris Agreement goals.

“This could be the final blow for Corsia,” Gilles Dufrasne, senior policy officer at Carbon Market Watch told Climate Home News. “It was always a ridiculously weak system, but now it is becoming essentially meaningless. Airlines are just let off the hook one more time.”

Airlines could get free pass on climate for five years under industry proposal

Member states of Icao have agreed to offset all growth in aviation emissions from 2020. With few technological solutions currently available to reduce planes’ pollution, airlines were expected to fund emissions cuts in other sectors, under a carbon market called Corsia.

The agreed baseline for measuring emissions was to be the two-year average across 2019 and 2020. But with 2020 turning into a year of anomalously low air travel because of restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19, airlines have proposed to measure from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Analysis by the Öko-Institut in Germany found that changing the baseline to 2019 could give airlines a free pass to pollute for the next three to six years depending on the speed of the recovery.

A study by the US-based Environmental Defense Fund found similar results.

Observers to the UN aviation talks argue the baseline change isn’t needed because offsets are already very cheap. An existing flexibility provision built in Corsia could be used by airlines to delay their offsetting obligations and limit additional financial costs.

Jo Dardenne, aviation manager at NGO Transport & Environnent, told CHN the change in baseline meant “we’re going from a cheap offsetting scheme to no scheme at all”.

“The aviation sector is clearly using the Covid-19 crisis to dilute the environmental effectiveness of a scheme that was already expected to bring little to zero environmental benefits,” she said.

For Tim Johnson, director of the Aviation Environment Federation, the baseline change will undermine many governments’ stated intentions to bolster climate ambition.

Airlines have managed to get what they wanted from governments, Dufrasne added. Governments, including in the EU, are handing out multi-billion relief packages to airlines “with virtually no climate conditions while also agreeing to industry demands to weaken the already insufficient climate policies in place,” he said. “They are exploiting the crisis.”

Oleg Butković, minister for transport and infrastructure in Croatia, which holds the EU Council rotating presidency, said in a statement that the baseline change was “crucial to maintaining a similar level of ambition for the scheme” while taking into account airlines’ difficult circumstances.

But the move did not receive blanket support inside the EU. Sweden did not support the rule change. And a cross-party group of European lawmakers from the Parliament’s environment committee called for the average 2019-2020 baseline to be maintained until a planned review in 2022, when the shape of the sector’s recovery will be clearer.

Among them Bas Eickhout, a Green MEP, told CHN in an email: “Corsia is already extremely weak, the change that Iata pursues makes it even worse. Weakening Corsia now in such a substantial way will be nearly impossible to correct later,” he said.

French MEP Pascal Canfin, chair of the environment committee, added the EU will need to work to readdress the issue at the next Corsia review in 2022. “The EU should be leading on emission regulation, not watering down the ambition,” he said.

See also, about ICAO:

Aviation’s black box: Non-disclosure agreements, closed doors and rising CO2

The 36 members of the Icao Council, which includes the world’s largest air travel manufacturing and infrastructure nations, are expected to take a position on the issue this week.

Besides European countries, the US and the Latin American Civil Aviation Commission are also supporting the rule change, according to Reuters. Any decision taken by the council requires a majority of at least 19 countries.

However Annie Petsonk, aviation expert at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), said the council was not legally entitled to change the rules of the climate deal that was agreed by 193 countries at Icao’s Assembly in 2016. Instead, Icao’s assembly would need to approve any recommendations to change the rules for offsetting emissions.

If a decision was taken by the council, “this will deal a triple whammy” to Icao’s climate credibility, she told CHN: airlines will be given a free pass to pollute, the trust of countries that are not part of Icao’s council will be undermined as well as the public trust in the credibility of airlines’ environmental claims.

https://www.climatechangenews.com/2020/06/09/final-blow-aviation-climate-plan-eu-agrees-weaken-rules/


See earlier:

Open letter to ICAO – the CORSIA scheme should not be weakened, just because of Covid

Thirteen organisations concerned with aviation carbon emissions and carbon trading, have written to ICAO to ask that they stick to the intentions for how the CORSIA scheme is set up, and do not weaken it. The stated purpose of CORSIA is to help the international aviation sector achieve “carbon-neutral growth from 2020”. It is due to use as a baseline the aviation CO2 emissions from 2019 and 2020. However, with the Covid pandemic, airline carbon emissions will be much lower than anticipated this year. If ICAO used 2019 and 2020, the amount of carbon the sector could emit, and the cost of emitting it, would be far lower than anticipated. So IATA wants to change the rules, so the carbon baseline only considers 2019, not including 2020, which would result in significantly lower offsetting requirements for airlines compared to the current CORSIA design. In fact, under most recovery scenarios, the change sought by IATA would eliminate all offsetting requirements for the duration of the CORSIA pilot phase and potentially several years thereafter. The rules need to be adhered to.

Click here to view full story…

European Commission will keep intra-European aviation within the ETS, as well as being in the ICAO’s CORSIA scheme

ICAO’s planned global scheme for offsetting emissions from international flights will supplement, not replace, the European Union carbon market, the EU’s transport commissioner has now said. With the United Nations (ICAO) planning a 2021 launch of CORSIA, clarity is needed that the European Commission will not remove aviation from the EU emissions trading system (ETS). Transport Commissioner, Adian Valean said:  “CORSIA will not put the ETS at stake. It will not replace the ETS. It will complement the ETS.”  The ETS only covers flights between European countries, not outside Europe. It is a more effective scheme, in incentivising lower carbon emissions, than CORSIA – which is very weak. But ICAO wants the EU to remove these flights from its carbon market so that CORSIA can be the only market-based measure tackling international aviation emissions. The Commission, the 27-nation EU’s executive is assessing how the two systems will co-exist.  It is important that EU flights outside Europe are in the CORSIA scheme, and Europe participates – otherwise other countries may also decide not to take part.

Click here to view full story…

IATA calls for change in CORSIA baseline to protect airlines from future higher offsetting requirements

Fri 3 Apr 2020
By GreenAir online

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, IATA has called on the ICAO Council to change the baseline calculation used for the CORSIA offsetting scheme for international aviation emissions.

Under rules agreed by ICAO, the baseline is set at the average emissions for the years 2019 and 2020. For the 15-year duration of CORSIA starting next year, airlines are required to purchase offsets to cover any annual growth in emissions above the baseline.
The collapse in global air traffic as a result of the outbreak, with demand unlikely to recover this year, will lead to significantly lower 2020 emissions. This in turn will lower the baseline considerably than was previously projected and result in much higher anticipated offsetting requirements and therefore costs once the sector returns to previous levels, says IATA.
It requests the Council to make the change no later than the end of June.

In a position paper, IATA says the baseline must be adjusted “to ensure the sustainable development of international aviation and avoid an inappropriate economic burden on the sector.” It recommends that only emissions for 2019 be used for calculating the baseline.

In support of its justification for a change in the baseline, the IATA paper quotes paragraph 16 of the A40-19 CORSIA resolution passed at the last ICAO Assembly in 2019,  “… on the need to provide for safeguards in the CORSIA to ensure the sustainable development of the international aviation sector and against inappropriate economic burden on international aviation, and requests the Council to decide the basis and criteria for triggering such action and identify possible means to address these issues …”.

The IATA paper argues: “Allowing the use of 2019 emissions as an alternative would preserve the environmental benefits that were forecast to be achieved through CORSIA as the adjusted baseline would remain more stringent than what the baseline would have been without the Covid-19 crisis.”

The airline trade body is also concerned that countries already signed up to join the voluntary pilot and first phases of CORSIA, and those still considering joining, may reconsider their positions in order to protect their airlines from potential higher compliance costs if no change is made to the 2019/20 calculation. States have until June 30 to notify ICAO of their intention to join the scheme from the beginning or decide to discontinue their voluntary participation.

Accordingly, IATA urges the Council to take a decision on a baseline adjustment before this date at the latest.

IATA also calls on ICAO to urge States to extend the May 31 deadline for the submission by aeroplane operators of their 2019 verified emissions report until at least the end of October 2020. It argues Covid-19 travel restrictions and confinement measures in many countries “have made it impossible for verification bodies to conduct verification activities.”

Historically, air transport activity has rebounded quickly after previous global crises but IATA’s March 24 Covid-19 impact assessment points to the potential for a deep financial recession following the outbreak that would delay the air transport sector’s recovery to previous levels. If this was to be the case and a 2019 only baseline applied to CORSIA, this could considerably reduce airline demand for offsets, at least in the 2021-23 pilot phase.Although it is too early to predict the impact of the pandemic on total emissions from international aviation this year, IATA’s current forecast is for a 38% fall in global passenger traffic in 2020. According to IATA, global emissions in 2019 – from domestic as well as international flights – totalled 915 million tonnes. Emissions from international aviation activity, which will be covered by CORSIA, account for around 60% of the global total.

https://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=2685

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IATA anticipate airlines globally losing $84 billion in 2020, $16 billion in 2021. Airline CO2 down 37% from 2019 level in 2020

The massive reduction globally in air travel demand, due to the coronavirus, will mean the airline sector will probably lose about $84bn (£66 billion) this year.  [In February, it was anticipating a loss of $29 billion]. IATA says airline revenues would drop to $419bn in 2020, down 50% from 2019.  IATA said it expects airlines to lose $230 million on average each day in 2020, with half as many air passengers as in 2019 – returning to the level in 2006.  IATA has to be bullish about the prospects for 2021, saying they anticipate the loss globally to be $15.8 billion, as revenues start to increase and passenger numbers return to 2014 levels. If there is a second wave of Covid globally, that will not happen. Airlines have been given billions in aid, to tide them over the pandemic crisis. IATA expects RPKs (Revenue Passenger Kilometres) to fall from 8.68 trillion in 2019, to 3.93 trillion in 2020 (and perhaps 6.10 trillion in 2021. They expect the load factor to fall from  82.5% in 2019, to 62.7% in 2020, maybe partly due to social distancing on planes, as well as low demand. They anticipate carbon emissions of global airlines to be 574 million tonnes CO2 in 2020, a 37% fall from the 914 million tonnes in 2019. And perhaps rising back to 748 million tonnes by 2021.
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Coronavirus: Airlines set for ‘worst’ year on record

9 June 2020  (BBC)

The plunge in travel caused by the coronavirus will drive airline losses of more than $84bn (£66bn) this year, a global industry group has warned.

The International Air Transport Association, which has 290 member airlines, said revenues would drop to $419bn, down 50% from 2019.

That is steeper than initially forecast and comes despite recent signs that travellers are returning to the skies.

This year will go down as the “worst” on record financially, the group said.

“There is no comparison,” said Alexandre de Juniac, chief executive of the group.

The group said it expected airlines to lose $230m on average each day this year as the number of travellers falls to 2.25 billion, roughly halving from last year.

That will erase more than a decade of growth, returning the industry to 2006 levels.

The association said the industry would see losses again next year, but the damage would drop significantly – to $15.8bn – as revenues start to rebound and passenger numbers climb back to 2014 levels.

“Provided there is not a second and more damaging wave of Covid-19, the worst of the collapse in traffic is likely behind us,” Mr de Juniac said.

Slow recovery
IATA had previously warned that airlines would lose $314bn this year, after air traffic all but disappeared in April, when governments around the world imposed limits on travel to try to control the spread of the virus.

While there are signs travel is starting to pick up, the recovery has been slow, complicated by economic downturn and government quarantines.

In the US, the Transportation Security Administration screened more than 440,000 people at airport checkpoints on Sunday. That’s up from fewer than 100,000 people in April, but still down more than 80% from last year.

Companies have responded to the crisis by grounding fleets, scaling back service and cutting thousands of jobs. In coming months, IATA said firms are likely to lower prices in an effort to tempt back travellers, worsening their financial situation.

Some airlines such as Flybe have already failed, while other have received millions in emergency government aid.

Mr de Juniac said continued support is needed.

“Government financial relief was and remains crucial as airlines burn through cash,” he said.

Industry groups, including IATA, have also called on the UK government to remove the 14-day quarantine on passengers entering the country.

Keeping such rules in place through the end of the summer could cost the UK $186bn and 2.9 million jobs, the World Travel & Tourism Council warned on Tuesday. That is up from the 1.2 million the organisation had previously said were at risk as a result of the pandemic.

“The sector’s recovery risks being undermined by heavy-handed restrictions just as it emerges from one of the most punishing periods in its history – and it’s not just airlines who will bear the cost but the entire travel ecosystem,” said Gloria Guevara, the group’s president.

A long, long time ago, IATA forecast that global airline revenues would fall by $29bn this year. The news generated shocked headlines.

Actually, that was only in late February. IATA has revised its projections a few times since then. The figure now stands at a colossal $419bn.

It’s a sign of just how quickly the Covid-19 pandemic developed- and how the industry went from worrying about the disruption to traffic to and within China, to grounding 95% of flights worldwide.

Put simply, grounded planes aren’t making money – while storing and maintaining them comes at a hefty cost.

Now, air traffic is slowly picking up as countries open up again. But airlines are still collectively facing a net loss of $84bn this year – where they had been expecting a $35bn profit.

It’s a difference which will be measured in tens of thousands of lost jobs and livelihoods ruined.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52983756

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Link to IATA data

https://www.iata.org/en/iata-repository/publications/economic-reports/airline-industry-economic-performance-june-2020-data-tables/
Some comments and figures pulled out of these, by Dan Rutherford, of the ICCT (International Council on Clean Transportation, in the US).

IATA has released airline economic, traffic, and environmental forecasts for 2020 and 2021.

A few reflections.

Full year RPKs (trillion): (Revenue Passenger Kilometres)
8.68 (2019)
3.93 (2020F; -55%)
6.10 (2021F, -30% from 2019)

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Full year CTKs (million):  (Cargo Tonne Kilometres)
254 (2019)
211 (2020F; -17%)
263 (2021F, +4% from 2019)

So a quicker recovery for air freight, but even that will be depressed this year.

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Passenger load factor:
82.5% (2019)
62.7% (2020F; -20 p.p)
73.8% (2021F, -9 p.p from 2019)

This will translate to going backwards on profitability and fuel efficiency.

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CO2 (million tonnes):
914 (2019)
574 (2020F; -37%)
748 (2021F, -18% from 2019)

This would put 2020 emissions at below 2004 levels, and 2021 emissions back to 2015 levels

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Watch out for this one being “spun” by the industry:

Fuel consumption (L/100 RTK  Litres of fuel per 100 revenue passenger kilometres)

in 100  kg/pax):
32.4 (2019)
37.8 (2020F; +17%)
34.0 (2021F, +5% from 2019)
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So 2019 load factors will really hurt fuel efficiency. Fuel costs should remain low, though.
But fuel consumption in L/100 ATK [Available Tonne Kilometres] is projected to actually improve by 1% in 2020. That’s because load factors are cratering and empty seats are lighter to fly than people. So please, please don’t use this metric. !

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Austrian government to introduce higher taxes on flights, with a minimum flight price of €40

The Austrian government, headed by Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, announced a rescue package of €600 million for Austrian Airlines on 8th June. But there are also 3 new measures, designed to make aviation less environmentally damaging. These include the immediate introduction of the reform of the air ticket tax. Instead of the previous €3.50 for short-haul flights, €7.50 for medium-haul flights and €17.50 for long-haul flights, it is now a standard of €12 euros. So that is more for shorter flights, but less for long-haul trips. In addition, there will be an increased tax of €30 for flights of under 350 kilometres, with the objective of deterring people from flying short distances – and encouraging train use instead.  In addition, the law on airport fees will be amended, so the tax will be based on carbon emissions and noise.  There is to be a minimum price for any air ticket, that will be €40. Austria is the first country to introduce this.  Austrian politicians describe the environmental harm done by aviation as environmental and social “dumping”, which is making profits at the expense of the climate and employees.

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No less than 40 euros

Austria defines a minimum price for flights

The Austrian government wants to make aviation more sustainable. They have adopted three measures to achieve this. One primarily affects low-cost airlines.
09.06.20
By Stefan Eiselin  (AeroTelegraph – Austria)
The Austrian government headed by Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz not only announced a rescue package of 600 million euros for Austrian Airlines on Monday (June, 8).
It also presented three measures designed to make aviation more ecological and social. These include the immediate introduction of the reform of the air ticket levy.Instead of the previous 3.50 euros for short-haul flights, 7.50 euros for medium-haul flights and 17.50 euros for long-haul flights, it is now a standard of 12 euros.
However, it was decided to introduce an increased tax of 30 euros for flights under 350 kilometres. This applies to the Vienna – Graz connection, for example.
In addition, the law on airport fees will be amended. In the future, emissions and noise will form the basis for the level of charges.Not at the expense of the climate and employees
But the third measure is the most extensive: In the future there will be no more cheap tickets in Austria. «This makes us pioneers in Europe», environmental Minister Leonore Gewessler said on Monday (June, 8) at a press conference.
The politician explained what the anti-dumping clause means: No more tickets would be allowed «below the legally prescribed fees and charges». That means, for example, no more tickets under 40 euros, Gewessler said. This would prevent airlines from making profits at the expense of the climate and employees.
https://www.aerotelegraph.com/en/austria-defines-a-minimum-price-for-flights

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What they call  “SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL DUMPING”

Austria to introduce €40 minimum flight price

Author: AFP  (RTL  – Luxemburg)

 08.06.2020

Austria’s government announced Monday it would introduce a €40 minimum price for flights in order to combat “social and environmental dumping.”

At a press conference announcing a government-backed rescue package for Austrian Airlines, Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler said: “It will no longer be possible to offer tickets which are cheaper than the actual costs,” referring to the social and environmental impact of the industry.

Austrian Airlines will receive a 600-million-euro ($677 million) rescue package to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the government said Monday, but also announced these new rules to make aviation more climate-friendly.

Austria will provide 450 million euros of the rescue package, with the rest coming from German giant Lufthansa, of which Austrian Airlines is a subsidiary, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said.

The Austrian government will guarantee 300 million euros in loans on top of a 150-million-euro grant, he added, confirming earlier media reports of the deal.

Kurz said the airlines and the government had agreed to three goals: saving jobs, maintaining Vienna as a key hub and “necessary measures in terms of climate protection”.

Prominent Green politicians such as Gewessler had made clear in recent weeks that they wanted any deal to come with conditions to reduce the environmental impact of aviation.

Gewessler said that the minimum price would mean “the end of one euro tickets”, adding that the measure would make Austria a European “pioneer”.

“I think this is what’s necessary for sustainable and fair aviation,” she said.

Later this month, Lufthansa is to ask shareholders to back a nine-billion-euro bailout deal negotiated with the German government, which will take a 20-percent stake in the group under the agreement.

Austrian Airlines’ fleet has been largely grounded for almost three months due to the restrictions introduced to fight the new coronavirus pandemic, which have devastated the international travel industry.

The airline plans to restart flights from June 15 to several European destinations and Tel Aviv.

Some long-distance services will be restarted in July, including to New York, Washington and Bangkok.

https://today.rtl.lu/life/travel/a/1531055.html

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See earlier:

Austrian government would like any Austrian Airlines state bailout to be linked to climate targets and lower CO2 emissions in future

Austria’s environment minister has said that Coronavirus state aid for Austrian Airlines should support efforts to cut aviation’s carbon footprint, as the government negotiates with the firm’s German parent company, Lufthansa.  Any aid should be used to cut carbon emissions, as it is public money, and needs to be used wisely. Austrian Airlines has grounded all planes. “When it is about an industry that particularly needs to contribute to climate protection, then it makes a lot of sense to use this situation to support this transformation,” the minister said.  Europe’s airlines are struggling to keep their heads above water, as virus lockdown measures slash demand for air travel. According to the IATA,  latest estimates are that global losses for the airline sector this year will nearly reach €300 billion.  Airlines are trying to get state aid, to bail them out, hoping they can get back to being profitable as soon as possible.  It is unclear what specific climate conditions could be written into a bailout deal but options reportedly include a pledge to reduce short-haul flights, increased cooperation with rail companies, more low carbon fuels [if they exist] and bigger tax contributions. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/04/austrian-would-like-any-austrian-airlines-state-bailout-to-be-linked-to-climate-targets-and-lower-co2-emissions-in-future/

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