The controversial Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) will only attract conflicts and trade wars instead of helping the environment, according to a declaration by an Arab airlines body. The Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO), which represents the interests of commercial airlines across the Arab world, said a unilateral application of the EU ETS is violating the essence of the Chicago convention, which stipulates that the Air Transport relations between states need to be regulated by mutual consent and agreement. “The EU’s attempts to impose its own policies on other states will only lead to conflicts and trade wars, which will not help the environment, the customer nor will it help the airlines. On the contrary, these attempts will negatively impact those stakeholders thus negatively impacting as well the global economic activity,” AACO said in its declaration. Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker, who hosted members at the meeting in Doha, said the ETS was one of the most controversial subjects facing the global aviation industry today. The Executive Committee of AACO called on the EU to listen to voices around the world, calling on it to work with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on a global, rather than Europe-wide, solution on how to deal with the environmental footprint of civil aviation, said a Press statement issued by Qatar Airways — a member of AACO. “There has to be a systematic approach to the implementation of any such scheme and, like many airlines around the world, we feel the European Union needed to take a step-by-step consultative approach before imposing programmes and penalising an aviation industry that plays a crucial role in driving economies,” Al Baker said. The fact that the ETS holds airlines of the world responsible for their emissions before the European authorities, contradicts with the principles of sovereignty of states over their national aerospace, and that national institutions of states are responsible before its own authorities and not the authorities of other countries, it added. The committee decided to call on the EU to redirect its efforts on the environmental issue through ICAO and find a global solution and relinquish its unilateral application of the ETS. European Union’s ‘penalising’ carbon tax will have far-reaching impact on the aviation industry in the Middle East region. Passengers flying to Europe from the Gulf will have to pay more to offset the ‘carbon tax’ as Etihad Airways became the first airline in the region to introduce a surcharge last month. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier increased fares by $3 per passenger for flights into and out of Europe and $0.03 per kg for cargo shipments, which came into effect from March 1, 2012.