Calls for a new EU carbon and aviation tax

Lauren Eldershaw
By Lauren Eldershaw February 12, 2019 10:07

Calls for a new EU carbon and aviation tax

Although the EU already has an emissions trading scheme (ETS) in place, a new paper from the Dutch government does not believe this goes far enough to counter the emissions from aviation, and without an “effective global instrument in place” it suggests that the European Commission should consider a new coordinated approach to aviation carbon taxation, amounting to an EU-wide passenger or flight tax on commercial flights. The paper says should a system would “prevent a shift in air passengers to neighbouring countries, avoid the accumulation of regulations and administrative burdens for airlines, and counter the fragmentation and disruption of the internal market”.

The suggestion has not been greeted favourably by the domestic market. Fred Roeder, managing director of the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), says that such a move would limit passenger choice and burden consumers from all over the EU with a new tax.

“The Netherlands seem to flip-flop on whether consumers should be burdened with a passenger departure tax or not. They used to tax passengers, got rid of the tax, and now plan to reintroduce one again. Learning from the effects of having a passenger tax while neighbouring countries don’t have one, the Dutch government must have come to the conclusion that all European passengers should be burdened with this tax. Thus, Dutch passengers would not be able to [access] cheaper and levy-free flights in Belgium or Luxembourg,” said Roeder.

“This shows that Dutch policymakers are aware that this is a bad policy and hurts passengers. No Eastern European EU Member State has such a tax yet. Introducing it would especially hurt the mobility of economic commuters and young Europeans travelling from Eastern Europe to the rest of the continent.

“Right now, we see a concentration of a few carriers in the market, foreign carriers aren’t allowed to offer inner-European routes due to cabotage rules, and at the same time, policymakers want to squeeze out more money from passengers. Instead of burdening European air passengers with more taxes we should rather open up European skies to further competition from the world,” concluded Roeder.

Meanwhile, ICAO’s imminent meeting on the use of biofuels in aviation has drawn ire for its lack of transparency. The body is meeting to discuss adding lower carbon aviation fossil fuels as an option to cut aviation emissions.

Although ICAO has agreed that biofuels should be an option to comply with CORSIA, the global offsetting measure that aims to limit aviation emissions to 2020 levels, ICAO needs to set out which biofuels can be used and how much.

Lauren Eldershaw
By Lauren Eldershaw February 12, 2019 10:07