Major EU airline introduces hefty ‘environmental charge’

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Lufthansa has added a surcharge of up to €72 for plane tickets to comply with regulations

Germany’s flagship airline Lufthansa has announced a surcharge of up to €72 ($77) for plane tickets, as it seeks to offset the cost of complying with new EU rules on using more expensive sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

According to the company statement issued this week, the levy will be applied to all tickets issued by June 26 and for departures starting from January 1, 2025 onwards.

On short and medium-haul flights, fares will go up by up to €5 in economy and €7 for business class, Lufthansa told Reuters. On long-haul flights, travelers in business class will be charged between €18 and €36 extra while first class customers will be charged up to €72.

The additional cost will be applied to flights departing from any of the EU’s 27 member states, as well as the UK, Norway and Switzerland, Lufthansa said. All flights sold or operated by Lufthansa Group, which owns airlines including Lufthansa, Eurowings, Swiss and Edelweiss Air, and Austrian Airlines, will be subject to the charge.

“The surcharge is intended to cover part of the steadily rising additional costs due to regulatory environmental requirements,” Lufthansa said.

New EU regulations mandate that fuel suppliers ensure 2% of fuel at EU airports is SAF by 2025, rising to 6% by 2030 and 70% by 2050.

However, experts have been warning that the measures aimed at making flying less polluting could result in higher costs being passed on to customers.

In January 2022, Air France-KLM became the first EU airline to add extra biofuel charge to tickets. The company announced at the time it was adding up to €12 on business fares and up to €4 on economy fares.

Air France-KLM is now considering broadly similar measures to Lufthansa, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters, indicating the charges could rise further.

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