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Flight tax plea as aviation bosses fear rough landing

By Wang Wen in Beijing and Cecily Liu in London (China Daily)

08:49, March 13, 2012

Letter sent to European leaders urges resolution to avoid job losses

The heads of Airbus, leading European airlines and aviation companies have written a letter to Europe's political leaders urging them to resolve an escalating trade spat over the EU carbon charge.

The letter was sent to the prime ministers of Britain, France and Spain and Germany's chancellor, according to a statement released on Monday by Airbus.

The nine signatories warned in the letter that retaliation by China and other countries that oppose the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was leading to serious consequences for the region's aviation industry and imperiled thousands of jobs.

"Europe can ill-afford the situation in the current economic climate," the company chiefs wrote in the letter.

China suspended approval this month for $12 billion worth of Airbus orders, Airbus confirmed earlier. The company estimates that the suspension could jeopardize more than 1,000 Airbus jobs in Europe and at least another 1,000 in the supply chain.

Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said his company is seeing "retaliation threats" from 26 countries, "in particular from China", the Associated Press reported on March 8.

The suspended orders include 35 for A330 planes and 10 for A380, the superjumbos, Schaffrath said.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that China's new ambassador to the European Union, Wu Hailong, said it "makes sense" for Chinese airlines to shun aircraft made in Europe, owing to the EU tax on aircraft emissions.

Wu told reporters that a decision by the EU to make non-European airlines subject to the tax "contributed to the current dilemma," the newspaper said.

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