Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Qantas says it is already planning for July 2012 The carbon-reduction scheme announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday is likely to force air fares up, with a Qantas spokesperson telling e-Travel Blackboard the carrier would not be able to absorb the tax in its entirety. According to the airline, the AU$23 per tonne tax placed on the country’s 500 worst polluters from 1 July 2012 will cost the Qantas Group around AU$110-115 million for the financial year ending 30 June 2013. “By mid-2012 the Qantas Group will be facing a carbon price in three markets and it will not be possible for us to absorb these costs in their entirety,” the spokesperson said.”We are disappointed that, unlike in New Zealand or the EU, there will be no phasing in period or transitional assistance for airlines and that the full price will apply immediately.” Although international fuel will be excluded from the carbon price scheme, domestic airlines will be subject to the AU$23 per tonne levy without “assistance or compensation arrangements”, the airline added in a statement. Qantas anticipates the price of a single domestic flight sector to rise by an average AU$3.50 in FY13. Meanwhile, consumer watchdog, CHOICE, has warned against businesses price-gouging under the cover of carbon costs, saying it agreed with government assessments that any impacts on the consumer would be “relatively modest”.CHOICE head of campaigns, Matt Levey, said that businesses should be “put on notice” to “not use the carbon tax as an excuse to pass on unrelated costs”, adding that CHOICE was “keen to see the ACCC play an enhanced role in providing a significant deterrent to such behaviour”. In related news, Qantas has refused to rule out job cuts to help guide its international operations into the black, with the airline’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, telling ABC television that any redundancies would be made as part of a “four-pronged strategy” for the carrier to be announced on 24 August. “We have had a surplus of pilots for some time and we’ve managed that with the big (annual) leave balances that are there,” Mr Joyce said.According to the Qantas boss, the new strategy will focus on future investment, cost-cutting, airline partnerships and a future in the emerging Asian market.