South African Airways (SAA) is preparing to raise its fuel surcharge on flights to and from Europe by between 1.00 and 2.00 euros per passenger on flights booked from 1 July in order to comply with the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
South Africa, along with the US, China, Russia, Australia and India, signalled its opposition to the EU ETS, in a treaty signed in Delhi last October and over the last few weeks urged the EU to negotiate changes which would make the scheme fair and transparent, SAA said in a statement.
“We fully support Government’s proposal that the EU suspend its ETS for two years so that a globally acceptable and equitable solution can be reached through negotiation at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which is the body mandated to set and implement global civil aviation standards and regulations,” explained SAA CEO, Siza Mzimela.
“At the same time, as a responsible airline, we are taking steps to comply with the EU ETS, but we are doing this under protest. This will ensure that SAA can continue providing air services to London, Frankfurt and Munich without disruption or sanction,” added Mzimela.
Under the EU ETS, airlines are allotted a quota of carbon credits, which they use to offset the emission charges. However, the allotted credits will only cover about 80% of all airlines emissions claims in 2012, leaving the airlines to purchase additional credits to cover the balance of the emissions charges they will incur.
In the ETS’ current form, the EU effectively charges airlines on their emissions over the entire distance of their flight to and from the EU, regardless of the distance or portion of the flight in EU airspace. For example, in the case of flights linking South Africa with Europe, only about 15 percent of the journey takes place in EU airspace – but the entire flight from Johannesburg will be taxed.
SAA will seek to mitigate the impact of such taxes on its customers by implementing fuel-saving and carbon-emissions reductions initiatives, the airline said.