Ryanair expects EU to face legal action over carbon law

DUBLIN Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:58am EST

DUBLIN Nov 16 (Reuters) - Ryanair expects the EU to face legal action over its decision to freeze carbon emissions charges for flights from outside the EU, saying it discriminates against short-haul carriers.

The European Union this week said it would freeze for a year its rule that all airlines must pay for their carbon emissions for flights into and out of EU airports, but flights within the European Union will still have to pay for their carbon emissions.

"I think the (lobby group) the European Low Fares Airline Association is certain to bring it to court. It's blatant discrimination," Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary told Reuters in an interview.

"It means short-haul carriers are being taxed for some notional environmental reason whereas the European flag carriers on their long-haul flights are not. It's complete discrimination against short-haul carriers and Europe's consumers," he said.

A spokesman for the European Low Fares Airline Association declined to comment.

The year-long exemption will apply to flights linking EU airports to countries outside the bloc, a move welcomed by U.S. and Asian officials.

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