British Airways is lobbying hard against proposed changes to the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that airlines are due to join in 2011.

BA has long argued in favour of the scheme for companies that produce global warming gases to trade credits for emissions.

But chief executive Willie Walsh says proposals now before the environment committee of the European Parliament will “severely test” BA’s support.

These include making airlines buy at auction the credits that would allow them to go on producing CO2 rather than just having to pay for a small percentage. BA argues that, together, the proposals would more than double the cost of emissions trading for EU airlines to £91 billion over a decade.

Walsh said: “We are more and more concerned about the structure of the scheme that is emerging. The industry faces massive additional fuel costs and we increasingly see

governments look at airlines as a source of tax in the name of the environment.”

BA also opposes UK Government plans to replace air passenger duty with a tax on aircraft from late 2009. Walsh fears the change will penalise carriers flying long-haul

direct from the UK, of which BA is by far the biggest. Short-haul carriers such as EasyJet and the major UK tour operators are broadly in favour of the change in tax.

Walsh said he would prefer APD remain rather than be replaced by aircraft duty.

The European environment committee will vote on the ETS proposals next week. Walsh has written expressing his concerns to EU environment commissioner Stavros

Dimas and UK environment secretary Hilary Benn among others.