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IATA hails EU's CO2 air travel suspension

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November 13 2012, 08:03AM

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been quick to celebrate a European Union (EU) announcement offering to suspend a controversial carbon tax on air travel for flights to and from non-European nations.

EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard's announcement that she had recommended the EU "stop the clock" for a year on the EU's emissions trading system (ETS) "represents a significant step in the right direction and creates an opportunity for the international community," IATA chief Tony Tyler said in a statement on Monday.

Brussels imposed the tax on January 1, claiming it would reduce carbon emissions blamed for climate change, but airlines allege it will cost 17.5 billion euros ($A21.57 billion) over eight years.

Over two dozen countries, including India, Russia, China and the United States, have also opposed the move, saying it violates international law.

Tyler on Monday said he supported Hedegaard's stance that suspending the controversial EU tax could help boost negotiations on a global deal to rein in CO2 emissions blamed for climate change.

"The commission's pragmatic decision clearly recognises the progress that has been made towards a global solution for managing aviation's carbon emissions," Tyler said, hailing Hedegaard for making "it clear that the EU wishes to create the space for the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) process to succeed.

"The flexibility shown by the European Commission demonstrates that the ICAO process is working," he added.