Germany’s Ruling Party Backs Electric Flight, Not Fewer Trips

Germany’s ruling party wants to rely on electric aircraft to cut back on emissions, rather than restricting short-haul flights as its chief rival, the Green Party, has demanded ahead of elections in September.

Developing aircraft powered by batteries and alternative fuels such as hydrogen will be the key to pivoting the aviation toward climate neutrality, Thomas Jarzombek, a Christian Democratic Union legislator and Germany’s envoy for aerospace, said at a conference on Friday.

The Green party, which is angling to take over when Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 16-year term ends, has sought sharp cutbacks in flying to quickly curb emissions.

Airlines have argued that eliminating short, cheap flights would burden the less affluent. Jarzombek appeared to back that view, saying the government plans to continue investing public money into carbon-free aircraft development so all can benefit.

“Flying shouldn’t be something just for the elite,” Jarzombek said.

The views of Germany and France carry impact in aircraft development because they are the two largest owners of Airbus SE. The European planemaker is working on designs for hydrogen-powered powered aircraft targeted for introduction by the mid 2030s, and has called for more government support for the effort.

Jarzombek was responding to calls from Germany’s Green co-party leader Annalena Baerbock, who called this week to cut back short haul flights to meet CO2 climate targets.

“Short-haul flights should no longer exist in the future,” Baerbock said.

Baerbock is the Greens’ front-runner for September’s federal election. The party is neck-and-neck with Merkel’s ruling bloc in the polls four months before Germans determine her successor.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.