China uses Airbus order to exert pressure on EU

Amid the disputes between Air China and the EU. The Hong Kong Airlines is considering to cancel the order of ten A380s.

Climate change and industrial policy, the Chinese government is fighting with EU on these issues. The disputes on EU carbon tax now affect a big contract of the aircraft manufacturer Airbus. According to a report from South China Morning Post, the Hong Kong Airlines is under pressure to reverse the contract of buying ten A380 jumbo jets with a value of nearly four billion dollars.

“We can not act against the interests of our country,” said the president of Hong Kong airline Yang Jianhong.

Kenneth Tong, the man who is in charge of Management and International Relations of Hong Kong Airlines said he could not confirm the cancellation. He also did not want to comment. Airbus also showed restraint. “The order status of the Hong Kong Airlines has not changed,” said a spokesman.

The controversy over the big order has been there for some time. Even the order of the A380 was initially blocked by China last year. In January, it was said that the contract was signed and sealed.

Since early 2012, airlines have to buy allowances for emissions of carbon dioxide for takeoffs and landings within the EU. Airlines that do not pay the carbon tax will face the fines or even a ban from access to European airports.

China defends itself against the charges. In early February the Chinese aviation authority (CAAC) forbade domestic airlines to pay the new fees. Also, U.S. airlines are opposed to the levy, but recently they failed to file the case in the European Court of Justice.