Air India, Jet Air face EU ban over excessive emissions

India is preparing to strongly oppose prospective fines to be imposed by the European Union on national carrier Air India as well as private carrier Jet Airways for not complying with EU emission norms.

 
Persistent spreading contrails are thought to have a significant effect on global climate

The European Commission said at its Brussels headquarters on Thursday that Air China and Air India were among 10 Chinese and Indian airlines facing fines and exclusion from airports in the EU for refusing to comply with rules aimed at curbing greenhouse emissions.

The carriers are accused of not providing emissions data, as required by the European rules, and not participating in a permit system that entitles airlines to emit greenhouse gases in European airspace.

The volume of carbon dioxide that the European Commission said 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.

The commission said the eight Chinese carriers could face fines totalling €2.4 million, and the two Indian airlines face total fines of €30,000.

The fine of €30,000 spread between AI and Jet may not be a great deal; but the threat of being barred from European airports is serious.

So far the emissions rules apply only to flights within Europe, and European carriers and most non-European airlines have complied. Still hotly debated, though, is the planned expansion of the system next January to include international flights in and out of Europe.

Japan, Russia and the United States, as well as China and India, were among about two dozen countries that protested against that expansion early last year. They have suggested that the decision should be left to the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

''We have not received any information regarding the fines. It (the scheme) has been postponed,'' India's civil aviation Minister Ajit Singh said today. He added that the EU was overstepping its jurisdiction.

No airlines have been fined yet for violating the permit system, and the program does not present them with huge costs, at least initially. The system has added less than €1 to the cost of flights from, say, Paris to Rome.

The warning Thursday to the Chinese and Indian carriers derived from their failure to report their emissions to the national authorities and their missing of a 30 April deadline for handing over sufficient numbers of permits to the national authorities to cover their emissions last year. The European Commission, the Union's administrative arm, which made the announcement, oversees the system.