Airbus and six European airlines have written to four EU leaders attacking the carbon tax imposed by the EU, a source said on Sunday.
Airbus, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Air France, Air Berlin and Iberia have written to the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Spain to warn them about the economic consequences of the tax, the source said.
They argue it could cost them billions of US dollars in lost orders and lead to the loss of thousands of jobs.
French aerospace and defense group Safran and Germany’s MTU also put their names to the letters, to British Prime Minister David Cameron, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. All four countries helped found Airbus.
“We question the unilateral nature of this measure,” said the source, adding that they wanted talks with all those affected, within the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The initiative was first revealed late on Sunday in the Financial Times.
It comes after the head of Airbus parent company EADS said on Thursday that China had blocked purchases of Airbus planes by Chinese companies in reaction to the disputed tax.
Airbus was being subjected to retaliation measures, EADS chief executive Louis Gallois told reporters.
According to a report on the Web site of the French economic daily Les Echos, China’s decision to freeze Airbus orders could cost the European aircraft company up to US$12 billion.
In the letter to Fillon, Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said that the tax threatened more than 1,000 jobs at the heart of the business and 1,000 more in industries supplying Airbus, Les Echos reported.
On Tuesday, the head of the International Air Transport Association said that the EU tax could provoke trade wars.
However, on Friday, Denmark Climate Minister Martin Lidegaard said the EU would maintain the tax on airlines operating in its airspace as long as an international solution had not been found.
Denmark currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.
The carbon tax imposed on airlines by the EU came into effect on Jan. 1, but carriers will begin receiving bills only next year after this year’s carbon emissions have been assessed.
More than two dozen countries, including China, Russia and the US, opposed the EU move, saying it violated international law.