German airline Lufthansa hikes ticket fares due to environmental costs

German airline Lufthansa hikes ticket fares due to environmental costs

An Airbus A340-300 and an Airbus A 321-100 belonging to Lufthansa are parked on the airport apron.

Helmut Fricke | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

German airline firm Lufthansa Group said Tuesday that it would add an “environmental cost surcharge” to ticket prices as soon as this week, which could be as high as 72 euros ($77) for some flights.

“The surcharge is intended to cover part of the steadily rising additional costs due to regulatory environmental requirements,” Lufthansa said in a statement, pointing to regulations from the European Union and International Civil Aviation Organization.

The additional cost will be applied to fights departing from any of the 27 member countries of the European Union, as well as the U.K., 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 amount of the surcharge varies depending on the flight route and fare and is between 1 euro and 72 euros,” Lufthansa said, adding that the exact amount would be visible to customers during the booking stage.

The fee will be applied to all tickets issued from June 26 — Wednesday this week — that are for flights departing from Jan. 1, 2025, Lufthansa said.

Environmental regulations

Several regulations from institutions including the EU would increase costs for airlines, Lufthansa said.

This includes EU quotas for how much sustainable aviation fuel is used. These are set to come into effect in 2025 and increase over the years until 2050.

Sustainable aviation fuel is an alternative to fossil fuels, and can be made of products such as waste oil and fats, non-food crops and other waste materials. It can also be created in a process that captures carbon from the air.

The International Air Transport Association says sustainable aviation fuel could cover around 65% of the emissions reduction the aviation industry needs to achieve to reach net zero by 2050.

Lufthansa said Tuesday that the quotas would “lead to additional costs in the billions in the future.”

The company also pointed to the emissions trading systems from the EU, Switzerland and U.K. as a factor in its increasing environmental costs. These programs control and limit the amount of permitted emissions, with the overall cap set to decrease over time with the goal of emissions being lowered.

Finally, Lufthansa also said the International Civil Aviation Organization’s climate protection agreement, which also sets out to control emissions, played a role.

Lufthansa said it was investing heavily in technology to make aviation more sustainable and supporting climate research.

“However, the airline group will not be able to bear the successively increasing additional costs resulting from regulatory requirements in the coming years on its own. Part of these expected costs for the year 2025 are now to be covered by the new Environmental Cost Surcharge,” the company said.

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