A British Airways plane takes off from Heathrow Airport
A British Airways plane takes off from Heathrow Airport - 
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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The European Commission, the administrative arm of the EU, is slapping carbon-emission restrictions on the airline industry. The U.S. will be exempt, at least initially, but as Stephen Beard reports from London, U.S. airlines could miss out on a bonanza.

STEPHEN BEARD: Tomorrow the Commission will call for aviation to be included in what is known as the European Carbon Trading Scheme.

Within five years airlines will be given carbon emission limits. They will need pollution permits if they want to exceed them.

But after legal threats by the U.S., flights in and out of the EU will be exempt. Only flights within Europe will be affected.

In fact, the U.S. airlines could be missing a trick, says analyst Tim Gibbs. He says the European airlines could make a fortune. They'll be given their pollution permits free while also pushing up their fares to help pay for the scheme:

TIM GIBBS: We've seen the electricity industry do precisely the same in the first phase of the trading scheme when they made around $1billion windfall profits because they were given free permits.

He expects the European airlines to make around $5 billion from the carbon trading scheme.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.