Emission-busting aviation taxes gain ground, despite airline pushback

(EurActiv, 15 Jul 2019) Ryanair in April became the first airline to be included among Europe’s top ten polluters, with some calling the airline company ‘the new coal’ industry. Large economies like France and Germany have begun seeking impact-reducing alternatives to air travel by imposing new taxes.

On 9 July, France announced that a tax would be applied on all departing air travel, causing share prices of some of the largest airlines in Europe to drop.

Various member states, including Germany and the Netherlands, also have aviation taxes in place or are currently designing them. Countries that depend on tourism revenues, boosted by air travel, are not so keen.

The ultimate goal is to reduce air travel’s environment impact, support alternative greener options and generate an extra €39 billion in profit a year for EU countries, according to some studies. Leading airline companies, including Ryanair, feel that this is not a long-term solution.

In response to the ongoing efforts to discourage European air travel by anti-flying organisations, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary hit back on Wednesday (10 July) explaining that “taxation is a very separate concept from improving the environment”.

“We are sensitive to the criticism that we are getting a free ride on the environment because frankly it is not true,” he told reporters, as he recalled the green taxes that airline companies already pay and the investment in fuel-efficient airplanes.

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EurActiv, 15 Jul 2019: Emission-busting aviation taxes gain ground, despite airline pushback