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China Air Transport Association

China opposes EU’s airline emission plan

The China Air Transport Association (CATA) has voiced objections to the European Union’s carbon emission plan, which is called Emissions Trading System or ETS and will charge Chinese airlines landing and taking off from European airports.

Under the ETS, all aircraft flying in and out of European airports will have to participate in the plan starting from Jan. 1, 2012, which means airlines that exceed their carbon emissions limit must purchase unused quotas from more energy-efficient businesses.

CATA said the emission problem should be solved by governments and airlines, instead of a unilateral decision made by the EU.

A total of 33 airlines from the mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau are included in the list of airlines to participate in the ETS, said Chai Haibo, deputy secretary-general of CATA.

CATA estimated that Air China Ltd, the largest carrier in the country by market value recently aggressively increasing routes to Europe, will pay more than RMB 200 million to the EU for carbon dioxide emission in 2012, and the figure may amount to RMB 730 million in 2020.

Besides Air China, China Southern Airlines Co Ltd, China Eastern Airlines Ltd and HNA Group, the parent of Hainan Airlines Co Ltd, also have intentions to add international flights, some of which will be in Europe.

Zhu Qingyu, minister of the market research department of CATA, said China’s airlines may pay the EU about RMB 800 million in 2012 and over RMB 3 billion in 2020 under the ETS.

Chinese airlines’ total fuel consumption per ton-kilometer declined 3% on average over the last decade, exceeding the goal of 2% set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, said Diao Yonghai, director of the development and planning department at the Civil Aviation Administration of China or CAAC.

The U.S. airline industry also wants to seek exemptions from the EU’s carbon emission plan, sources reported.

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