The Commission’s new aviation state aid guidelines

February 19, 2014

Aviation is the most carbon intensive transport mode, yet European member states exempt airlines from fuel tax and airline tickets completely from VAT. Now, with its aviation state aid guidelines, the Commission has decided to open the floodgates and expand operating aid to airports in an effort to boost their turnover.

By financing reduced user fees (subsidies) to airlines, the Commission will encourage more flights. All this is in the midst of a massive political fight to preserve what’s left of the EU’s flagship climate legislation to reduce aviation emissions. The Commission openly acknowledges that operating aid is the most distortive form of aid. It has always been illegal but now the Commission intends to sanction past illegal practices by legalising them! The winner will be the subsidised airlines – like Ryanair – and cheap air travel for those who fly. The losers will be those who don’t fly, government budgets and the climate. For more information, please see our briefing below.

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