Hong Kong Airlines may cancel an order for 10 Airbus superjumbo A380 jets, a report said on Thursday, as Chinese opposition to the European Union's airlines carbon emissions fee intensifies.
Beijing has banned its airlines from complying with the EU scheme, which was imposed from January 1 although no airline will face a bill until 2013.
Hong Kong Airlines, a subsidiary of Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines, said it was under pressure to cancel the acquisition -- reportedly worth about $3.8 billion at list prices -- following China's decision.
"We cannot do something which is against our country's interest," Hong Kong Airlines president Yang Jianhong told the South China Morning Post newspaper in Hong Kong.
The airline might review its fleet expansion plan if the order is dropped, the newspaper quoted a source from the firm as saying. The 10 jets were intended to serve its European and North American markets.
Hong Kong Airlines could not be immediately reached for comment. A Singapore-based spokesman for Airbus told AFP "there is no change to the status of the order" at the moment.
The European aircraft manufacturer has reportedly said it plans to deliver the first A380 to Hong Kong Airlines in 2015.
China was among more than two dozen countries including India, Russia and the United States that opposed the EU scheme, which is imposed on airlines taking off or landing in Europe.
The EU has said the carbon tax will help the 27-nation EU bloc achieve its goal of cutting emissions by 20% by 2020 and that it will not back down, despite claims the charge violates international law.
China has said it fears its aviation sector will have to pay an additional 800 million yuan ($125 million) a year on flights originating from or landing in Europe, and that the cost could be almost four times higher by 2020.