BEIJING, June 12 China will take swift
counter-measures that could include impounding European aircraft
if the European Union punishes Chinese airlines for
non-compliance with a scheme to curb carbon emissions, the China
Air Transport Association said on Tuesday.
Chinese airlines, which have been told by Beijing not to
comply with the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme, refused to meet a
March 31 deadline for submitting carbon emissions data.
EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has said carriers
have until mid-June to submit their data before enforcement
action is taken.
"Chinese airlines are unanimous on this. We won't provide
the data," Wei Zhenzhong, secretary general of the China Air
Transport Association, said on the sidelines of an International
Air Transport Association (IATA) meeting in Beijing.
The Chinese group represents major airlines there, including
the big three state-controlled carriers Air China
, China Southern Airlines , and
China Eastern Airlines .
"The government at least will take the same kind of measures
and these anti-sanction moves will be lasting," Wei said.
However he said: "We would try to avoid any trade war."
A raft of countries including China, India, Russia and the
United States have protested against the inclusion of all
flights using EU airports into the emissions scheme.
"It's not about the money. It's an issue of sovereignty,"
said Paul Steele, IATA's director of aviation environment.
The EU plans to charge airlines a fee for their carbon
emissions based on the quantity of carbon calculated for
complete flights with an EU origin or destination, rather than
just the portion flown over Europe.
Critics say this amounts to interference with national
The EU has delegated implementation of the scheme to member
states, which would fine airlines for non-compliance.
If the airlines do not pay the fine, other theoretical EU
counter-measures include impounding aircraft, IATA's Steele
Under the EU plan, Germany will determine whether Air China
is in breach of ETS regulations or not; France will monitor
China Southern Airlines; and the Netherlands will monitor China
"We would not like to see a situation of 'you hold up my
planes and I hold yours'," Wei said.
China, which according to Airbus and other sources in the
European aerospace industry is delaying plane orders worth up to
$14 billion from European planemaker Airbus over the
row, has asked the EU to push the scheme back by a year.
"ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization) will
hold its 38th meeting in October 2013, and the EU should at
least push the deadline to that time and agree to resolve this
issue based on the coordination of ICAO," Wei said.