Air India hit with UK fine for failing to comply with Aviation EU ETS
Thu 16 Jul 2015 – Air India and four other aircraft operators have received civil penalties totalling £95,456 ($150,000) by the UK authorities for non-compliance with the Aviation EU ETS for the year 2012. They were deemed not to have surrendered sufficient allowances to cover their annual reportable emissions by the end of April 2013. Two of the operators have since come into compliance and surrendered allowances for the three years 2012-14 but on government instructions, Air India has so far refused to conform with the scheme that currently covers carbon emissions on flights between airports in Europe. An Indian government official told GreenAir that it was unlikely the airline would pay the penalty and the issue would have to be dealt with at a diplomatic level. Another Indian airline that reports to the UK on the EU ETS, Jet Airways, recently lost an appeal against a similar fine but has since come into compliance and does not appear on the list of penalty notices.
UK civil penalties are calculated on the basis of the sterling equivalent of €100 for each allowance (equivalent to one tonne of CO2) the operator fails to surrender. Further penalties can apply for failure to submit an emissions plan, monitor aviation emissions or report aviation emissions. The UK legislation says that if a civil penalty is not paid within six months, there are powers to detain and sell the operator’s aircraft and/or request the European Commission to impose an operating ban.
The penalty imposed on Air India amounts to £12,377 ($19,300). The other operators to receive penalties are Russia-registered Loid Global (£42,217), US-based Media Consulting Services (£12,787), Nigerian oil company Oranto Petroleum (£9,325) and Primevalue Trading (£9,749), which is registered in the British Virgin Islands. According to the EU Transaction Log (EUTL), which records individual operator verified emissions and surrendered allowances, Media Consulting Services and Primevalue Trading have now surrendered 257 and 115 allowances respectively to cover their 2012 emissions and further allowances to cover 2013 and 2014.
The EUTL shows Jet Airways has now surrendered a total of 425 allowances to cover emissions on intra-European flights for the years 2012-14. It has not been disclosed whether the airline has paid the €15,000 ($16,000) penalty imposed on it for failure to surrender 150 allowances to cover emissions in 2012, which it appealed. Jet Airways argued, unsuccessfully, that the unilateral action of the EU in imposing the scheme on foreign operators was not in accord with a global consensus reached at ICAO and that the Indian Government had prohibited it from complying (see article).
The Indian government official suggested the decision by Jet Airways to comply was taken by the airline’s board of directors. Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways, which is also administered by the UK for EU ETS purposes and has fully complied with the scheme, took a 24% stake in Jet Airways in 2013.
Air India is joined by the flag carriers of Russia and Saudi Arabia – Aeroflot and Saudia – in refusing to comply with the European carbon scheme on government instructions. Saudia has already been fined €1.4 million ($1.6m) by the Flemish authorities (see article).