In Brief

How much would a carbon charge add to flight ticket prices?

Ministers considering adding a levy to airline tickets to tackle emissions

Air passengers could have a carbon charge added to the price of tickets automatically under new government plans.

In a bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions, ministers are considering measures that would ask all airlines to introduce carbon offsetting payments at the point of ticket sale.

Passengers could choose to pay more for tickets, with the extra used to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Or the payments could work on an “opt-out” system, which similar measures also be applied to trains, buses and ferries.

The Times calculates that a flight between London and New York could increase by just under £30, falling to £15 when travelling with the most fuel-efficient airlines. A journey between London and Madrid could rise by an estimated £5.

The Guardian says ministers hope the new plans will “raise awareness about the effects of public transport on the environment” but the Daily Mail points out that the plan could be unpopular, as it comes as “Air Passenger Duty - which is paid by all passengers flying out of the UK, continues to rise - with rates set to increase again from April next year”.

The government said it was hoped that the carbon charge move would “drive consumer choices towards less polluting journey options”. A public “call for evidence” runs until the end of September.

Transport accounted for about a third of Britain’s CO2 emissions in 2018. However, a recent study found that only half of airlines give passengers the opportunity to offset CO2.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “An offsetting scheme could help inform travellers about how much carbon their journey produces and provide the opportunity to fund schemes, like tree planting, to compensate for those emissions.”

Tim Aldersdale, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “UK airlines are committed to decarbonising aviation and are working with government to continue progress through the introduction of new greener technologies, including more efficient aircraft and engines, sustainable aviation fuels and vital airspace modernisation.”

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