The European Commission has confirmed that ten Chinese and Indian airlines are facing fines for failure to follow rules designed to reduce air pollution. China Air and India Air are among the ten airline companies that could be fined and excluded from airports within the European Union for failing to conform to the terms of the EU’s Emissions Trading System.
The Trading System is designed to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that is being released into the atmosphere, in a bid to reduce climate change. Airlines were only added to the ETS regime last year. This drew massive complaints from the US and China, which eventually suspended the ETS for non-EU airlines flying to and from the bloc. However, the EU has now made it clear that non-EU airlines will still have to pay for any pollution they produce when flying within the EU.
The airlines that have come under fire are accused of failing to provide data on their emissions. This data is required by all airlines flying within EU airspace as detailed in the European rules. The companies are also accused of not participating in the greenhouse gases permit system.
As the companies have not provided their emissions data it is not possible to know the exact amount of carbon dioxide that they released. However, the European Commission has estimated that the ten airlines released around the same amount of carbon dioxide as the burning of 130 rail-cars of coal would. This is the amount of the greenhouse gas created in European airspace alone.
The Chinese airlines could be fined a total of €2.4 million £2 million or more and the Indian airlines face total fines of €30,000 £25,000. Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s commissioner for climate action, said: “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. It shows how controversial and difficult it is to get to the adequately ambitious outcome we need in global aviation.”