By Laurence Frost and Kate Abnett
PARIS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Air France-KLM is battling new green taxes on top of the coronavirus crisis – in a test of growing policy tensions between righting Europe’s crippled airlines and delivering on climate goals.
The Franco-Dutch group, sustained by 10.4 billion euros ($12.2 billion) in state-backed loans, faces higher duties in both home markets as well as EU plans to hike airlines’ carbon costs.
The struggle unfolding around Air France-KLM is part of a larger reckoning for carbon-intensive industries as efforts to tackle global warming spawn more taxes and regulation.
While campaigners say those are long overdue, crisis-hit airlines warn their timing and severity will cost thousands more jobs and hurt development of lower-carbon technologies.
New taxes “do not support emissions reductions”, said Air France-KLM Chief Executive Ben Smith in response to proposed increases to French passenger duties.
“In fact it’s counterproductive and would