Less emissions Merkel urges aviation to innovate
Status: 06/18/2021 8:35 p.m.
“As soon as possible”: Chancellor Merkel called for speed in innovations at the National Aviation Conference. Air traffic must quickly become lower in emissions. The industry is hoping for the summer business. The aviation industry and politics want to promote “green” flying in Germany with state funding. After the pandemic, all economic policy measures would have to be aligned with climate targets, said Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) at the National Aviation Conference in Berlin. “As for other industries, climate neutrality is a very ambitious goal for aviation,” said Merkel. To achieve this, there must be innovations, for example in drive systems and infrastructure – “and not at some point, but as quickly as possible”. Because the product cycles in aviation are very long.
In addition to the restart of the industry, which was badly shaken by the corona crisis, the focus of the industry summit at the capital airport BER was above all the path of aviation to emission-free flying. The airlines are focusing on the development of sustainable fuels as well as new, more economical aircraft and even electric aircraft. Representatives of the industry associations BDL, BDLI as well as the industry giants Airbus and Lufthansa repeated that this was a joint task of business and politics – and that is why public funds were necessary to kick-start innovations. The federal government is already investing billions in funding into the development of emission-free kerosene and clean aircraft technology. “At the moment, prices and quantities leave a lot to be desired,” said Merkel, referring to lower-emission fuels. Here you have to come to competitive terms. With extensive funding, alternative fuels based on electricity could also be ramped up on the market. Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr said that synthetic alternatives to kerosene are around five times more expensive than fossil fuel today, and that PtL kerosene costs ten times as much. “No airline can afford that.”
Aviation industry Corona isn’t the only problem
Aviation has been hit particularly hard by the Corona crisis.
No competitive disadvantage
With regard to the new climate regulations for European aviation expected by the EU in July, the Federal Government believes that stricter climate protection rules do not result in a competitive disadvantage compared to airlines abroad with lower standards. Merkel warned that there should be no distortions in the competitive struggle and no double burdens.
Aviation in Europe has been participating in CO2 emissions trading (ETS) since 2012, and the Corsia CO2 compensation system is to be introduced on a global level. “ETS plus Corsia does not work,” said Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU). Corsia is the right instrument. The EU Commission considers this to be the weaker system.
Lufthansa wants to repay corona aid
Lufthansa was in dire straits due to the collapse of passenger flights in the Corona crisis and had to be supported by Germany and the countries of its subsidiary airlines with a financial framework of nine billion euros. Germany accounted for a total of 6.8 billion euros of the state rescue package for Lufthansa. The company has now announced that it intends to repay the state funds soon. “We were one of the first companies that was saved by the federal government. We also want to be one of the first companies to pay back the rescue funds – hopefully before the general election,” said CEO Spohr. The federal government, which in addition to loans and silent participation became Lufthansa’s largest shareholder with the rescue operation, wanted the state to withdraw “as soon as possible,” said Scheuer. With the help, the airline must get back on the road to success as quickly as possible. “And the state has to get out of there,” emphasized the minister.
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Industry hopes for summer business
After the dry spell in the Corona crisis, aviation is relying on a recovery in summer business. According to the Federal Government’s Aviation Commissioner, new virus mutations could slow down the long-awaited restart. “At the moment there is great optimism and bookings are going through the roof,” said aerospace coordinator Thomas Jarzombek of the Reuters news agency. But everything depends on the infection situation. “Of course, there is now the delta variant as an uncertain component.” You can see in the UK that this delayed openings after the lockdown