Costs and Benefits of Stopping the Clock – How Airlines Profit from Changes in the EU ETS

From 2012 flights to and from EU airports have been included in the EU emissions trading system (ETS). In November 2012 the Commission decided to ‘stop the clock’ and exempt emissions from intercontinental flights. Because airlines will have anticipated incurring costs on these routes and will have raised fares or levied surcharges to cover them, the exemption provides them with a windfall profit. This report estimates the windfall to be between EUR 700 and 1,400 million. EU airlines are expected to reap the largest share of the windfall (55%), followed by US airlines (13%).

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