In Brussels today the EU’s environment commissioner will propose including airlines in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which aims to tackle climate change.

However, the aviation industry could make up to £2.7 billion profits through the ETS Scheme, according to report by one of Britain’s leading think tanks, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The IPPR argues that the EU should require member states to auction the credits to emit greenhouse gases to airlines. If airlines are simply given the credits they will pass on emissions credit costs to passengers, leaving the industry to pocket up to £2.7 billion in windfall profits.

Simon Retallack, head of ippr’s climate team, said: “When it comes to preventing climate change, there is no such thing as a cheap flight. Including aviation in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme is a step in the right direction. But the EU should not repeat the mistake it made with the energy sector and give the aviation industry free emissions credits, handing the airlines a windfall of up to £2.7 billion. The EU should take a strong lead on curbing emissions from airline flights and clip the aviation industry’s wings.”