Middle Eastern carriers such as Emirates and Etihad Airways have strongly opposed the ruling by the EU Court of Justice upholding the plan to charge airlines for carbon emissions for using European airspace starting January 1.

Global carriers on Wednesday lost a battle to overturn the European Union’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) when Europe’s highest court — the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) — upheld the union’s plans to charge any foreign airline that lands or takes off in Europe for carbon emissions.

The move that will result in higher ticket prices, while also pushing airlines towards limiting their carbon output, was not welcomed by carriers.

Emirates estimates that in 2012 alone it will cost the airline over €40 million (Dh192 million) to purchase additional emissions allowances to comply with the scheme, and well over half-a-billion euros in the nine-year period to 2020.

Etihad Airways would also end up bearing an extra cost of €310 million over the next nine years, according to Linden Coppell, Etihad’s Head of Environment, based on the carrier’s forecast growth rate of traffic into Europe and the cost of carbon.

Global aviation trade body the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also expressed disappointment over the EU court’s decision. It stated that it represents a European legal interpretation of EU ETS while the success of Europe’s plans depended on how non-European states would view its legal and political acceptability.

According to IATA estimates, the air transport industry has made global commitments to improving fuel efficiency by 1.5 per cent annually to 2020, to cap net emissions from 2020 and to cut net emissions in half by 2050 (compared to 2005 levels).
Source: Gulf News