The opinion, issued yesterday by the advocate general at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, marks a preliminary victory for the EU in its attempts to extend its cap-and-trade programme beyond its borders from January.
The opinion by Juliane Kokott will come as a blow to the United Continental and American Airlines, who have brought a case against an EU plan to make any carriers taking-off or landing in the 27-member bloc pay for their emissions.
Though the court will not rule until next year, it follows the advocate-general’s opinion in most cases.
Expressing disappointment, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry body, said that the opinion “does not mark the end of the case”.
“Rather than risking a further escalation of tensions amongst states, I encourage Europe to support a successful, global and effective solution,” said Tony Tyler, director general of the IATA.