Several Chinese carriers are planning to take their case against the European Union's (EU) plan to charge for carbon emissions to court.

The airlines likely to be involved are the nation's flag carrier Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, said an official from the China Air Transport Association.

He added that the association and the airlines are of the view that the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) is unfair and that discussions on when to file the suit are ongoing.

When contacted an Air China official would only say "we definitely oppose the ETS".

China's civil aviation regulator has also been in talks with the EU to seek changes to the ETS, which will start next year.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China had said that the scheme, which will impose caps on carbon emissions from airlines flying into Europe, discriminates against carriers from developing countries.

USA carriers American Airlines and United Continental, which are represented by the Air Transport Association of America, took their case to court last year.

Despite widespread criticism of the ETS and threats of retaliatory action from governments and airlines worldwide, the EU has not indicated it would budge on implementing it.

The European Court of Justice issued a preliminary opinion last month, concluding that the scheme is in line with international law. A final ruling from the court is expected at the end of 2011 or in early 2012.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news