Hong Kong Airlines is considering cancelling an order for 10 Airbus A380 aircraft, a local report said Thursday, in retaliation for the European Union’s airline emissions tax.
The Chinese government banned its airlines from complying with the EU’s new carbon emissions fee, which takes effect from January 1, with fines scheduled to be imposed in 2013.
As a result of Beijing’s decision, Hong Kong Airlines, a subsidiary of Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines, said it is coming under increased pressure to cancel its purchase of the superjumbo jets from France’s Airbus, according to the South China Morning Post. The order is reportedly valued around $3.8 billion at list prices.
‘We cannot do something which is against our country’s interest,’ Hong Kong Airlines president Yang Jianhong told the newspaper in Hong Kong.
The airline might review its fleet expansion plan if the order is dropped, according to a company source cited by the newspaper. The 10 jets were intended to boost its European and North American fleet.
A Singapore-based spokesman for Airbus told AFP in response to the report that ‘there is no change to the status of the order’ at the moment. The European manufacturer reportedly plans to deliver the first A380 to Hong Kong Airlines in 2015.
China is among more than two dozen countries including India, Russia and the US that opposed the EU scheme, which applies to airlines taking off or landing in Europe.
The EU has said the carbon tax will help the 27-nation EU bloc achieve its goal of cutting emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and that it will not back down, despite claims the charge violates international law.