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Air China, other airlines oppose new EU airline tax plan

Air China and other Chinese carriers have strongly opposed European Union’s unilateral plans to levy charges for carbon emissions.

Leading Chinese carriers including Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines as well as Hainan Airlines have criticized EU’s unilateral move to introduce new tax plans for carbon emissions.

EU’s carbon trade market is all set to include these airlines and implement new airline tax plans effective from January 1, 2012. The EU alleges that the airlines are contributing 3.0% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Chinese government has also come down heavily on EU’s new tax plans and says that it fears that its aviation sector will be forced to pay an additional US$125 million annually on flights to/from Europe. It said that the cost would be nearly four times higher by 2020. A Chinese foreign ministry statement said that China is appreciative of EU’s climate change concerns and efforts, but it strongly opposes the forceful implementation of its unilateral carbon emissions tax plans.

The Chinese carriers fearing revenue impacts have said that they would fight a legal battle jointly in association with the China Air Transport Association.

Besides China, several other countries are also voicing their concerns and protests over the EU’s legislation. US carriers are among others planning to challenge EU Emissions Trading System in a top European court alleging that the legislation is seriously breaching the international climate change agreements.

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