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Chinese airlines banned from complying with ETS
February 7th, 2012 by elisa

Chinese airlines have been banned from complying with the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), and are also banned from raising air fares or adding new charges to cover the cost of the scheme.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China issued a directive, authorized by the State Council, to notify all domestic airlines of the ban. A statement on the State Council’s website said: “Without the approval of relevant government departments all airlines in China are prohibited from participating in the EU’s emissions trading scheme.”

It added: “China will consider adopting necessary measures to protect the interests of Chinese individuals and companies, pending developments.”

China is not alone in its opposition to the scheme, the US, Russia and India are also against it; with the US Congress expected to pass a bill to formally oppose the scheme in the next few weeks.

It is estimated that Chinese airlines would have to pay 800 million yuan ($125 million) this year towards the scheme. This figure could be up to four times higher by 2020 as Chinese flights to and from Europe increase.

However, the EU ambassador to China, Markus Ederer, said that with free credits taken into account, the added cost per passenger on a flight from Beijing to Brussels would be only 17.5 yuan or 1.9 euros.

“I leave it to you to make a judgment on whether this is too much for saving the Earth, combating climate change and making headway together,” he said.

Meanwhile, some foreign airlines have started to include the cost in their air fares. US carrier Delta has added a $6 surcharge for return flights between the US and Europe, and Germany’s Lufthansa indicated it would raise its fuel surcharge.

There are also some analysts which say that Chinese airlines may actually pay the tax so as to avoid damaging business in Europe and to keep flight routes open.


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