E.U. tax, National flights, speedy screenings for military
The good news: A new European Union law will address climate change. The bad news: A new E.U. law may cause airfares to rise.
The new Emissions Trading Scheme requires airlines flying to or from E.U. countries to offset their CO2 emissions in a cap-and-trade plan. This year, airlines will get 82 percent of the certificates for free but must purchase another 15 percent or risk a fine or even a ban.
What does this mean for the passenger? Less pollution? Maybe. Higher fares? Most likely. “The airlines won’t eat the tax. They’ll pass it on,” said Airfarewatchdog’s George Hobica. “It’ll only be $30 or $40 . . . but every little bit hurts.”
Cathay Pacific Airways and Lufthansa have hinted at a spike in airfares to Europe. But others, such as Quantas Airways and the China Air Transport Association, are mulling legal action or noncompliance.
US Airways is increasing its presence at Reagan National. Beginning March 25, the carrier will offer nonstop service between National and Birmingham, Ala.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Islip, N.Y.; Little Rock; Jacksonville, N.C.; and Florida’s Pensacola, Tallahassee and Fort Walton Beach. It will also add Memphis, Omaha and Ottawa, plus weekday service to Bangor, Maine, and Savannah, Ga., and a daily flight to Hartford, Conn.
Military members could soon fly through airport security, thanks to the Risk-Based Security Screening for Members of the Armed Forces Act. It gives the Transportation Security Administration six months to create a plan for expedited screening for soldiers in uniform and on official orders and “to the extent possible, any accompanying family member,” and to establish guidelines for screening military uniform items, such as combat boots.