Restructuring aviation ticket taxes to deliver greater environmental benefits

Aviation has a unique taxation regime that is characterised by a lower level of taxation than many other economic activities. The low-tax regime is supported by a number of interacting national, European, global and bilateral rules and agreements.

In order to still raise fiscal revenue from aviation, a number of countries have introduced aviation ticket taxes in recent decades. Invariably, these initiatives have been met by opposition from airlines and often opposed in courts, although in most cases, the taxes were judged to be lawful.

The aim of this study is to analyse which aviation ticket tax designs have held up in court and can therefore be considered as a template for new taxes. Moreover, the study analyses how and to which extent aviation ticket taxes can be used to internalise external costs of aviation, with a focus on climate impacts.