US airlines set to lose over EU carbon cap plan

A SCHEME that would force all foreign airlines to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions “is compatible with international law”, an adviser to the bloc’s top court has said, in response to a challenge by North American airlines.

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.