Photo: Markus Mainka/Shutterstock

European Flights Getting More Expensive With This Airline's $77 Environmental Cost Surcharge

Europe Sustainability Airports + Flying
by Katie Scott Aiton Jun 27, 2024

German airline Lufthansa announced this week that flights may increase by up to $77 starting next year to cover the costs of greener fuel.

The airline aims to recoup the rising costs of adopting more sustainable aviation fuel by adding an environmental surcharge to ticket prices. This surcharge, which could reach up to $77 per passenger, is expected to take effect on flights departing from 27 European countries, Britain, Norway, and Switzerland as early as 2025.

“The amount of the surcharge varies depending on the flight route and fare and is between 1 euro and 72 euros,” says the Lufthansa Group. “The Environmental Cost Surcharge will be levied on all tickets issued from June 26, 2024, and applies to departures from January 1, 2025,” the airline continues in a statement.

Lufthansa’s move comes in response to stricter environmental regulations implemented by the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organization. These regulations aim to curb the aviation industry’s significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainable aviation fuel, derived from bio-based materials, is considered a vital tool in achieving this goal. However, production of greener fuel remains limited, and it’s currently more expensive than traditional jet fuel.

The airline emphasizes that the surcharge is necessary to offset the rising costs associated with complying with environmental regulations. They point out that airlines have long warned that stricter ecological standards could translate to higher ticket prices.

The announcement has divided opinion. Environmental groups see it as a necessary step towards a more sustainable aviation industry. However, the price hikes may disproportionately impact budget travelers and hinder the affordability of air travel. And perhaps airlines should explore cost-cutting measures elsewhere before passing on additional expenses to customers.

Lufthansa states the group “will not be able to bear the successively increasing additional costs resulting from regulatory requirements in the coming years on its own.”

Lufthansa’s decision will likely be a harbinger of similar moves by other European airlines facing the same cost pressures and environmental regulations. In the coming months, we will likely see further debate on how to balance the need for a cleaner aviation industry with the affordability of air travel for passengers.

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