EU won’t relax sustainability targets for aviation despite war, official says

A European Union flag flies in front of the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

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MILAN, March 25 (Reuters) – The European Union will not relax its sustainable development targets for the aviation industry despite the conflict in Ukraine and soaring fuel prices, the bloc’s top transport official said on Friday. .

“While there are new challenges, old challenges are not going away, and making aviation sustainable is a challenge,” said European Commission Director General for Mobility and Transport Henrik Hololei.

He added that now was not the time to “make concessions on sustainability”, speaking during a Eurocontrol webinar.

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Hololei was responding to a call from the chief executive of Polish carrier LOT, Rafal Milczarski, who urged the EU to heed the massive increase in jet fuel prices, the negative impact of the war on passengers’ willingness to travel and the side effects of sanctions on Russia.

Industry participation in carbon emissions trading, which airlines use to pay for a portion of their greenhouse gas emissions, must be reconsidered or at least temporarily suspended, Milczarski said at the event. Eurocontrol.

“The EU’s ‘Fitfor55’ strategy needs to be fundamentally overhauled…it is extremely idealistic and I fear it will kill a number of airlines,” said LOT’s CEO.

Speaking of LOT’s own business, Milczarski said that with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Polish carrier had been forced to cancel many flights and had seen a drop in bookings.

“We’re not expecting a great summer at all,” he said.

The EU will also stick to increasing from 50% to 64% in April the proportion of landing and take-off slots that airlines must use to service them.

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Reporting by Francesca Landini in Milan and Ilona Wissenbach; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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