Hong Kong Airlines Ltd has threatened to cancel an aircraft order with Airbus in the latest escalation of tension over the European Union’s decision to make flights pay for their carbon emissions, the South China Morning Post reported.
The Hong Kong-based regional carrier, backed by China’s fourth-largest carrier Hainan Airlines Co Ltd, said it was under pressure to cancel its order for 10 Airbus A380s with a list value of $3.8 billion, the Hong Kong newspaper said.
“We cannot do something which is against our country’s interests,” it quoted airline president Yang Jianhong as saying.
The A380 superjumbo is European aircraft maker Airbus’s (EAD.PA) flagship passenger jet.
A spokeswoman for Airbus said the Hong Kong Airlines orders “have been placed in the order book and they remain there”.
Others refused to comment.
“I cannot confirm this and I have no comment on this,” said Kenneth Thong, Hong Kong Airlines’ head of corporate governance and international affairs.
In Brussels, Isaac Valero-Ladron, EU spokesman for climate action, said the European Commission did not comment on “possible commercial decisions”.
China has said it would not buy Airbus aircraft because of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme ETS.L, which requires all flights using EU airports to pay for their carbon costs.
Plans to announce the high-profile A380 deal between Airbus and Hong Kong Airlines were called off at the Paris Airshow last June because of China’s anger over the ETS, industry sources said.