European Commission proposals aimed at reducing airlines’ carbon emissions may harm competition in the bloc while doing little for the environment, Austrian Airlines has warned.

Responding to the “Fit for 55” proposals published by the European Commission on 14 July – designed to enable the sector to contribute a broader goal of a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 – the Vienna-based carrier’s chief executive Alexis von Hoensbroech states that “the measures must not distort competition, otherwise the climate will not be helped but the domestic economy will be damaged to the greatest possible extent”.

Austrian Airlines

Source: Austrian Airlines

“The European institutions should not put any additional hurdles in the way of domestic aviation, but rather build the launch pad for the use of climate-friendly sustainable fuels,” he adds.

“For the planned quota of sustainable fuels, however, a financing mechanism must be found that includes all providers equally and does not leave the burden on European wings alone.”

The Fit for 55 proposals seeks to tighten airlines’ emissions trading, introduce a kerosene tax for flights within Europe, and enact a rapidly increasing mandatory blending quota for sustainable aviation fuels.

Austrian Airlines, together with its parent Lufthansa Group, has set itself a goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.