* Airlines balk at fines despite scaled-down EU emission
* Aeroflot challenges German fine
* Chinese, Indian carriers told to boycott
By Ben Garside
LONDON, Aug 8 More than a year after the
European Union was forced to rein in its scheme for charging
airlines for emissions, some foreign carriers are still balking
The EU's unilateral push in 2012 to charge airlines for
carbon emissions set off a diplomatic row with China, India and
others and eventually Brussels backed down, confining its scheme
to flights within the EU.
Most airlines - those responsible for 98 percent of the
regulated emissions - paid up by a May 2013 deadline to submit a
carbon permit for every tonne of carbon emitted on EU flights in
But some airlines, including Chinese and Indian carriers
operating a tiny number of internal EU flights, have been
Both have all along opposed the scheme, arguing their
inclusion in the EU's Emissions Trading System breached
"We oppose unilateral measures in this regard," a
spokeswoman from China's representation to the EU told Reuters
by email, adding Beijing wanted a global approach to regulating
emissions led by the United Nations.
Germany, one of the main governments chasing up unpaid
fines, in April issued 2.7 million euros ($3.62 million) in
penalties to 61 carriers.
Russia's Aeroflot has also balked at paying a
215,600 euro fine to Germany.
"Following the examples of some other countries, Aeroflot has
lodged an appeal to saying that these fines are not acceptable,"
Aeroflot said in an email to Reuters.
Required by EU law to enforce the penalties, like Germany,
Britain, France and the Netherlands as the bloc's main air
transport hubs also lead the search for payments.
The Netherlands and France each still have one large airline
in breach, officials told Reuters. The Dutch have started an
enforcement procedure while France plans a penalty decision by
the end of summer. A spokeswoman for Britain declined to give
details about its enforcement procedure.
As of Friday, EU records showed China's big three
state-owned carriers - China Southern, China
Eastern and Air China - regulated by the
Netherlands, France and Germany respectively, had either not yet
set up the registry accounts needed to comply or had failed to
submit data for 2012.
Air India and Jet Airways, regulated by
Britain, had also not opened the required accounts.
"There are a small number not complying for political
reasons. Some, like India, challenge that Europe has a right to
do anything to their carriers," said Bill Hemmings of campaign
group Transport and Environment.
Yet he noted their refusal to pay raised wider questions
about enforcement under the EU ETS, Europe's flagship policy to
regulate emissions blamed for climate change.
"If you're a foreign airline and you can be let off, what
about foreign entities owning power stations?" he said.
Since 2005, the EU ETS has regulated over 11,000 power
plants and factories emitting almost half of Europe's greenhouse
gas output with a very high rate of compliance.
The penalty for non-compliance is 100 euros per tonne of
emissions, plus the cost of permits to make up for the
(1 US dollar = 0.7458 euro)
(Additional reporting by Susanna Twidale; editing by Jason