The Washington Times - November 14, 2012, 04:58PM

One day after Europe’s climate chief suggested putting on hold a controversial plan to charge international airlines for their carbon emissions, the president of a top Middle East airline on Wednesday said his industry is an “easy target” for environmental regulators.

Speaking in Washington to announce his company’s new route between the United Arab Emirates and Capitol Hill, Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan said he is already focused on improving emissions and the European Union delay will give world leaders more time to come up with an international solution.

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“Now, the airline sector, because of the regulations, in one way, could be argued as an easy target,” Mr. Hogan said. “I consider we are responsible. But there are other markets such as shipping, vehicle markets, where we don’t see the same big action from the regulators in Europe as we see towards the airline sector.”

Mr. Hogan believes this will make it easier for international regulators to come up with a solution by next November. “I think it is proper that the EU back off and ensure the global formula is found for the industry.”

“As an industry, we are responsible, in my opinion, in regard to emissions,” he added. “Airlines know we have to be responsible. We have to change.”