On 1 January, the emissions trading scheme will begin across Europe as a way of offsetting the amount of carbon dioxide being produced by airlines. The scheme will apply to all airlines land or taking off from airports in the EU. Carriers will have a cap put on the amount of CO2 they are allowed to produce and will have to pay for credits.
In the UK a number of airline bosses have formed an alliance to demand the abolition of the controversial Air Passenger Duty. They are arguing that the tax was originally intended to offset emissions and now that ETS is being introduced it no longer has to serve that purpose.
In a statement IAG boss Willie Walsh, Carolyn McCall from easyJet, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary and Steve Ridgway of Virgin Atlantic explain that there is no proof that the government has ever used APD to pay for the environment. Currently the Exchequer receives £2.5 billion every year from APD and is hoping to ramp this up to £3.6 billion by the middle of the decade.
The group points out that according to figures compiled by the government, airlines in the UK were already contributing enough money to cover carbon emissions in 2008. APD since then has soared. By 2020 it is estimated that airlines in Britain will be paying around 400 million euros under ETS.
The scheme applies to all airlines visiting airports in Europe and has come under fire from foreign governments who feel the charges do not conform to international legislation.