Ryanair charging passengers for something they get for free? Surely not.
The airline we all love to hate has announced it will add 25p to all bookings to cover the cost of the European emissions trading system (ETS) "eco-looney" green tax scheme.
The levy, starting tomorrow, will apply per passenger, per one-way flight and Ryanair estimates it will cost passengers between €15m and €20m during 2012.
So far Ryanair is the only airline to announce a specific additional levy for the ETS and is only doing this to make a stand. ‘Spokesperson’ Stephen McNamara said "Ryanair does not believe that European aviation should be included in the ETS scheme since it accounts for less than 2% of the EU's carbon dioxide emissions. This latest EU stealth tax will damage traffic, tourism, European competitiveness and jobs at a time when no other economic block is including aviation in their ETS schemes.”
He continued ranting "this new ETS tax is the latest in a long line of cost increases imposed on Europe's air passengers by the European Union, which reduces the competitiveness of EU air transport with yet another misguided environmental tax which does nothing for the environment but penalises EU consumers and families." Mmm. Just so long as it doesn’t penalise Ryanair’s profits, eh.
Of course, Ryanair adding loads of charges to flights is hardly news, but the sticking-in-craw bit of it is that Ryanair don’t actually have to pay for the vast majority, perhaps even all, of their carbon under the ETS scheme.
ETS- Extra Tidy Sum?
The ETS came into effect on January 1 and all airlines using EU airports are expected to comply. Under the scheme, airlines flying to or from Europe must obtain certificates for carbon dioxide emissions.
However, airlines (including Ryanair) will get free credits to cover most flights this year but must buy or trade for credits to cover the rest, or face a fines or a ban.
The EU aviation emissions cap for 2012 has been set at 215 million tons, but 183 million of that sum, or 85 percent of the total, will be given for free to airlines as EU Aviation Allowances. The rest will be sold via auctions.
Some international airlines are also balking at the scheme, and Malaysian low-fare airline AirAsia X has already announced it is to stop its Gatwick to Kuala Lumpur flights from the end of March. The airline blamed the ETS scheme, the UK's air passenger duty departure tax and high oil prices for the decision.
So, given that Ryanair has not yet been informed of the amount of its free carbon allowance, expected at the end of February, we can only assume that this levy for ETS will make darned sure that Ryanair doesn’t end up out of pocket, and may very well be pocketing a tidy little sum.
After all, passengers already pay €5.99 per flight to pay for Ryanair’s insurance (the bill went up after 9/11, poor mites) and £2 per flight in case of volcanic ash, on top of Air Passenger Duty and airport taxes, not to mention that extra €0.50 per flight if you have the cheek to have mobility issues, so what’s an extra 25p between friends?