The negative effects of the aviation industry, namely carbon dioxide emissions, should be seen in context of the benefits that air travel offers, an industry association has claimed.

Simon McNamara, general manager for infrastructure and environment at the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), said that air transport naturally attracts a lot of criticism for its impact on the environment.

He described aviation as a "headline grabbing form of transport" but pointed out that only 1.5 per cent of all CO2 emissions are generated in the EU.

"That doesn't mean that we shouldn't do everything we can to try to reduce that amount, but equally it doesn't mean that we should get hysterical about trying to close down air transport," he continued.

"You have to balance the effect we have on the environment with the social and economic advantages we bring to people in life."

Mr McNamara said that travellers should be given the opportunity to choose what forms of transport they use but stressed that the effects of all methods of travelling should be made clear.

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