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EU Commissioner Rebuts Calls for Bizjet Restrictions

Charles Alcock from AINonline – Reports

European Union transport commissioner Adina Vālean has said her department does not intend to introduce measures restricting operations by business jets as part of steps to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint. The commissioner commented at a June 1 press conference after a meeting of EU member state transport ministers in which officials from Belgium and Ireland indicated they would favor tougher environmental regulations for private flights, backing similar policies advocated by the governments of Austria, France, and the Netherlands.

During the June 1 meeting in Luxembourg, transport ministers from the EU’s 27 member states discussed issues including the environmental impact of private jet flights. “This form of air travel has an excessive per capita carbon footprint and is therefore rightfully subject to criticism,” the Austrian, Dutch, and French ministers said in a joint written statement. “In view of this, recent calls for action such as establishing bans on private jet travel are understandable and need to be addressed appropriately.”

Austria’s climate protection minister, Leonore Gewessler, described private aviation as a “hobby for the super-rich” and called for targeted flight taxes. This was echoed by French transport minister Clement Beaune, who demanded “a more sober approach” to taxing various modes of transportation, following his recent initiative to ban all domestic airline flights in France for which a train service of less than 2.5 hours is available.

Vālean, who is Romanian and has been the EU transport commissioner since 2019, said no further regulations would be introduced before the June 30 end of the current commission’s mandate. At that point, the presidency of the European Commission will rotate to be under the leadership of Spain through the remainder of 2023, followed by Belgium for the first half of 2024. Hungary assumes the presidency during the second half of next year and its prime minister, Viktor Orban. has described the EU’s policies to counteract climate change as “a utopian fantasy.”

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