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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  London Stock Exchange  >  International Consolidated Airlines Group, SA    IAG   ES0177542018

INTERNATIONAL CONSOLIDATED AIRLINES GROU

(IAG)
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European airline chiefs push back against flight shaming, carbon taxes

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07/10/2019 | 02:04pm EDT
A part of the north runaway is reflected in a window of the National Air Traffic Services tower at Heathrow

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The heads of some of Europe's largest airlines hit back on Wednesday against efforts to discourage Europeans from flying, arguing the industry was making huge strides in cutting its carbon footprint and that there was no shame in air travel.

The share prices of Europe's largest airlines fell this week when France announced a tax on air travel, the latest move by an EU government to discourage flying, which activists say is a major contributor to climate change.

"We are sensitive to the criticism that we are getting a free ride on the environment because frankly it is not true," Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary told a press conference in Brussels.

"We have a very good case to push back against these NGOs like the flight shame movement because actually this is an industry that is performing remarkably well and meeting its obligations towards a greener, cleaner planet," he said.

O'Leary was speaking as chairman of lobby group A4E (Airlines for Europe), which includes the continent's largest airline groups, Lufthansa and British Airways owner IAG.

The group argues that aviation has roughly halved the carbon footprint per flight over the past three decades and is spending billions of euros in more fuel efficient aircraft and investing in less damaging aviation fuel technologies.

O'Leary said his airline paid over 500 million euros (£449 million) of environmental taxes on a fuel bill of 2 billion euros last year, equivalent to around 4 euros per passenger.

"We are paying on behalf of our customers a penal level of aviation taxes and these taxes are continuing to rise," he said.

The industry's image has been damaged in recent months by the rise of the Swedish-born anti-flying movement and the concept of "flight shame."

Commercial flying accounts for about 2.5% of global carbon emissions today but without concrete steps, that number will rise as global air travel increases.

The aviation industry has set out a four-pronged plan to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and halve net emissions from 2005 levels by 2050.

But airline leaders acknowledge they have struggled to articulate their plans in a way that resonates with the public.

"I am not ashamed to be in this industry," said IAG chief executive Willie Walsh at the same briefing. "This is an industry that has a good story to tell, we just need people who are prepared to listen to understand the facts."

Walsh, who like O'Leary is from Ireland, said people living on islands and in countries at the periphery of Europe often had no real alternative to flying and that taxes could undermine the competitiveness of these regions.

A4E is also lobbying for the reform of the continent's air traffic control system, something it says could immediately reduce carbon emissions from the industry in Europe by 10%.

(Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

By Tim Hepher and Conor Humphries

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
INTERNATIONAL CONSOLIDATED AIRLINES GROUP, SA 0.00% 420.3 Delayed Quote.-31.99%
LUFTHANSA GROUP AG 0.46% 13.23 Delayed Quote.-32.84%
RYANAIR HOLDINGS 0.47% 8.538 Delayed Quote.-20.07%
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Financials (EUR)
Sales 2019 25 796 M
EBIT 2019 3 321 M
Net income 2019 2 319 M
Debt 2019 6 588 M
Yield 2019 6,88%
P/E ratio 2019 4,19x
P/E ratio 2020 3,96x
EV / Sales2019 0,61x
EV / Sales2020 0,57x
Capitalization 9 217 M
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Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 17
Average target price 7,62  €
Last Close Price 4,64  €
Spread / Highest target 150%
Spread / Average Target 64,1%
Spread / Lowest Target 6,16%
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Managers
NameTitle
William Matthew Walsh Chief Executive Officer & Director
Antonio Vázquez Romero Chairman
Enrique Dupuy de Lôme Chávarri Group Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director
Patrick Jean-Pierre Cescau Senior Independent Director
Kieran C. Poynter Independent Non-Executive Director
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