Delta Air Lines adds $3 fee to offset European emission limits

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Delta Air Lines, one of the nation’s largest air carrier, has added a $3 surcharge on flights in and out of Europe in a move that seems intended to offset the cost of a new European emissions plan.

Starting this year, the Europe will impose taxes on airlines that exceed strict emission limits when flying in and out of European countries. A trade group for the nation’s airlines estimates that the emission plan will cost U.S. airlines more than $3 billion through 2020

A national airline trade groups had suggested last month that airlines might add surcharges to offset the cost of the emissions plan. Delta is the first major U.S. carrier to adopt a new charge specifically for flights in and out of Europe.


A spokesman for Delta told Reuters that the surcharge was added Jan. 2 but declined to say whether it was intended to shift the cost of the emissions plan to airline customers.

The European Commission launched the cap-and-trade emission plan in 2005, targeting utilities, manufactures and airlines. Starting this year, greenhouse gas emissions from airlines are capped at 97% of their average 2004-06 levels and 95% in 2013.

Airlines that don’t use all their allowances can sell the excess to those carriers that exceed the limits. The cost for violating the plan is 100 euros, or about $142, for every ton of greenhouse gases that airlines emit above the limit.

Although U.S. airlines and others challenged the emissions plan, the Court of Justice of the European Union upheld the plan last month.


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