Answer given by Ms Hedegaard on behalf of the Commission
It is important to clarify that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is not a tax or charge but rather places a ‘cap’ on greenhouse gas emissions — individual airlines are in principle not required to pay anything to anybody as long as they respect the limitiations resulting from this pollution ceiling. The majority of emissions allowances that together constitute the cap will be distributed to the aviation industry free of charge and although the sector is generally expected on average to need to buy additional allowances the extra cost of the EU ETS per passenger is expected to be very low. The Commission would further refer the Honourable Member to its answer to Written Question E‑000817/2012(1) by Mr Liam Aylsward.
The Commission notes that the EU ETS legislation was adopted with overwhelming support in the European Parliament and from the Member States and cannot simply be ‘scrapped’. The EU remains committed to developing and implementing cost effective climate change policies and strategies in order for the EU to meet its targets for 2020 and beyond, especially with regard to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, including from aviation.