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WASHINGTON, D.C.--U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), ranking member of the Commerce Committee's Aviation Operations, Safety and Security Subcommittee, today introduced a bill, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011, to prevent the European Union (E.U.) from adding a tax on flights traveling through U.S. airspace. Starting on January 1, 2012, all international flights operating to and from the E.U. will be included in the E.U. Emissions Trading System, including flights between the U.S. and the E.U.
Thune's legislation would enable the U.S. Department of Transportation to take necessary action to ensure America's aviation operators are not penalized by any tax unilaterally imposed by the E.U.
"The idea that the European Union has the right to tax American air passengers and carriers flies in the face of our country's sovereignty," said Thune. "I reject this proposed European tax and will work with my colleagues in Congress and countless concerned stakeholders to block this tax."
A leading airline association estimates this European tax would cost U.S. airlines and passengers more than $3.1 billion between 2012 and 2020, which could otherwise be used for the creation of nearly 40,000 U.S. airline jobs.
The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act is supported by numerous airline stakeholders, including Airlines for America, Air Line Pilots Association, American Society of Travel Agents, Cargo Airline Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, International Air Transport Association, Interactive Travel Services Association, National Air Carrier Association, Regional Airline Association, and the U.S. Travel Association.
Similar legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support on October 24, 2011.