EU aviation emissions tax: Indian airlines face fine of €30,000

Chinese carriers may be fined €2.4 million for not complying with rules

By Ankur Paliwal
Published: Friday 18 May 2012

Airlines from India and China could be fined for not complying with the European Union’s emission tax rules for using its air space, said the European Commission (EC) on May 17. The commission said that Air India and Air China were among the ten carriers which did not provide emissions data required under the new tax law to reduce green house gas emissions from the aviation sector.

The tax was imposed last year in January, according to which all flights operating in the European Union will be subjected to carbon emission limits. The regulations will also apply to aircraft flying in and out of the 27-nation bloc. But currently the regulations apply only to internal flights that begin and end within the 27-country bloc. The commission suspended the planned extension of the regulations last year in November due to the opposition from countries including India and China. It was decided that the issue will be resolved under the framework of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) which will set up a panel to look into the issue. But EC has given only one year to ICAO for this. After that EC will re-introduce the tax.

The emissions from the aviation sector accounted for around 10 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2005. It is expected to increase to 15 per cent by 2020 and 29 per cent by 2050.
Reportedly, the volume of carbon dioxide that the 10 carriers emitted through their jet engines in Europe last year was comparable to the emissions from burning about 130 rail cars of coal. Therefore, the eight Chinese carriers may be fined €2.4 million, and the two Indian airlines could face total fines of €30,000.

NewYork Times quoted Connie Hedegaard, the Union's commissioner for climate action, saying there was no excuse for the airlines to ignore Europe’s system. “It’s not so that when we make our European laws, then we say they count for everybody except for Chinese and Indians — and that is no different in the aviation sector,” Hedegaard said. “It shows how controversial and difficult it is to get to the adequately ambitious outcome we need in global aviation.”

India and China along with other countries have been opposing the move since last year saying that it is a unilateral measure and there are other ways to reduce emissions, including technical innovations.

Kapil Kaul, chief executive officer of Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, says it was the decision of the government of India to not share emissions data. “I don't think there should be a problem in sharing the data since it has been decided by EU that the issue will now be dealt under the larger umbrella of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). I expect the issue to be resolved soon.



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