David-G-Curmi

As the green transition gathers steam, the aviation industry is set to face more challenges, tighter regulations, and fewer exemptions from targets to reduce emissions.

“Whatever way you look at it, there will certainly be a cost associated with transitioning to net zero,” says KM Malta Airlines Chairperson David Curmi, who admits that airlines are “reviewing their strategies for viable funding models for the shift towards low-carbon flights.”

His comments come two weeks after Lufthansa – Europe’s second largest airline by passenger volume – announced that it will be adding an ‘environmental cost surcharge’ to its flights departing from 1st January 2025.

The surcharge of between €1 and €72 is intended to cover “part of the steadily rising additional costs due to regulatory environmental requirements,” said the German airline.

Speaking to MaltaCEOs.mt, he says that the Maltese flag carrier has not yet determined how it will cover emissions regulations-related costs, which are set to increase from next year.

He confirmed that the national airline has not ruled out the introduction of a surcharge to cover the costs related to the green transition, saying that “at this stage KM Malta Airlines has not taken any decision regarding such potential surcharges or increasing fares.”

He added that the matter is “a highly complex subject which will still have many aspects to be worked through before the final position becomes clear.”

Mr Curmi pointed out that IATA members – that is, practically very major airline and many smaller ones – have committed to be carbon net zero by 2050.

The proportion of emission allowances freely allocated to airlines is also set to be phased out over the coming two years and will be completely removed by 2026.

Mr Curmi also noted that from 2025, every aircraft departing from an EU airport will be required to partially run on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

“Currently SAF costs circa two and a half times the price of conventional jet fuel.”

The bottom line, for the KM Malta Airlines Chair, is that “ultimately, these additional costs will have to be reflected in ticket prices that airlines charge to their customers.”

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