Aviation taxes reduce social and economic benefits. They also do not benefit the environment.
Taxes imposed specifically on aviation reduce the social and economic benefits aviation provides, and have significant costs for society, as shown by a 2017 PwC study for A4E (see recent initiatives). Taxes are not an effective way to pursue environmental objectives and do not have a material impact on reducing CO2 emissions.
Where aviation taxes have been introduced in Europe, there has been a marginal impact on emissions at best, while the revenue has disappeared into general government budgets and not been used to reduce the carbon footprint of flying.
A4E members have ambitious plans in place and are investing in new technologies and sustainable aviation fuels, which are long-term, meaningful solutions. Purchasing new, efficient aircraft has lowered fuel consumption by 24% since 2005 alone. €170 bn will be invested over the next decade.
These efforts will be complemented by the first global climate mitigation scheme of its kind, known as CORSIA, starting in 2021.In contrast to taxes, market-based measures are a more cost-effective way to cap and reduce emissions while incentivising companies to improve their environmental performance and invest in the future.
A4E calls on the EU to support the industry’s substantial efforts to reduce its climate impact. Effective measures, such as EU policies to increase production capacity of sustainable aviation fuels in Europe, should take priority over symbolic, penalising measures such as taxes that do not address the core issue.
Governments could also take direct action today to address excess emissions caused by airspace inefficiencies by implementing the Single European Sky, which alone would reduce emissions in Europe by 6–10%.