An analysis of all EU airports served by Ryanair has found that almost one-quarter of these airports are likely to be receiving state aid. The analysis, which is non-exhaustive as we focused only on small airports, includes many cases where airports used by Ryanair are shown to be in direct receipt of public money from local authorities. Such state aid is helping drive the airline’s record emissions growth, potentially breaches EU state aid rules, and faces being ruled illegal as the European Commission begins a review of the guidelines covering state aid to airports and airlines.
Here are four ways to tackle the aviation sector's climate impact through taxation.
France has announced a new tax on flight tickets in the latest sign that European governments are prepared to curb the aviation sector’s growing climate emissions by ending its tax holiday. The ‘écotaxe’ will be the sixth ticket tax in Europe, though airlines will still pay no tax on their kerosene or VAT on their international tickets.
A pro-environment message was not to the fore of the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protests in France, but it’s just possible they may have turned the tide when it comes to tackling air transport’s runaway emissions.
Here T&E reproduces two papers from The Hague conference which set out the definitive legal situation surrounding the taxation of aviation fuel within and outside Europe. They were presented by Prof Dr Eckhard Pache from the Julian-Maximilians University of Wurzburg in Bavaria. They outline how taxing aviation fuel in Europe is possible today and urgently needed on both equity and climate change grounds and that, with ambition, all the barriers for doing so beyond Europe can be dismantled as well.
The Netherlands and Sweden’s calls for bilateral or multilateral agreements between EU countries to be a way forward to tax aviation fuel have been welcomed by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E). Sweden’s finance minister Magdalena Andersson was speaking at a high-level conference in the Hague where European officials and the IMF, World Bank and OECD joined the chorus of those already calling for aviation pollution to be priced equally with other transport modes.
Today’s conference of EU finance ministers and officials in the Hague to discuss ways to tax aviation and address its climate impact is a long overdue and welcome development, NGOs Transport & Environment (T&E) and Natuur & Milieu have said. Taxing aviation fuel within Europe is possible, so EU governments must not get bogged down in seeking unanimity for an EU tax but instead work bilaterally to tax airlines. Unlike road transport, airlines have never paid a single cent of excise duty on the fuel they take on at EU airports.
This briefing explores the aviation sector's status as one of the most undertaxed in Europe and examines the supposed legal obstacles to ending this annomally. It outlines a number of recommendations for EU governments and the EU to remedy this situation.
You could almost hear the sigh of relief going through the ‘Quartier Européen’ two weeks ago. Despite all the talk of a populist anti-EU insurgency taking Brussels by storm, that was not Sunday evening’s story. The people’s party (EPP) and the social democrats (S&D) each lost 30-40 seats. But the big surprise was the excellent performance of liberal and green parties. By Monday morning people started to talk about ‘a green wave’ with even the European Commission’s most powerful bureaucrat, Martin Selmayr, joining the chorus.
Tackling environmental problems is generally thought to involve politicians introducing regulations and imposing measures that encourage or nudge behaviour in desired directions. But, following decades of government inaction on aviation emissions, the public is taking the matter into its own hands.