IATA: Tax not solution to aviation sustainability

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the clearing house for over 290 global airlines, has warned that the reliance on taxation as the solution for cutting aviation emissions in the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ proposal is counter-productive to the goal of sustainable aviation.


The body further stated that EU’s policy needs to support practical emission reduction measures such as incentives for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and modernisation of air traffic management.


“Aviation is committed to decarbonization as a global industry.

We don’t need persuading or punitive measures like taxes to motivate change. In fact, taxes siphon money from the industry that could support emissions’ reducing investments in fleet renewal and clean technologies.


To reduce emissions, we need governments to implement a constructive policy framework that, most immediately, focuses on production incentives for SAF and delivering the Single European Sky,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.



IATA reiterated that achieving aviation decarbonization requires a combination of measures such as Sustainable Aviation Fuels which reduce emissions by up to 80 per cent compared to traditional jet fuel.


Insufficient supply and high prices have limited airline uptake to 120 million litres in 2021  — a small fraction of the 350 billion litres that airlines would consume in a ‘normal’ year.


Others are market-based measures to manage emissions until technology solutions are fully developed hinting that the industry supports the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) as a global measure for all international aviation. It avoids creating a patchwork of uncoordinated national or regional measures such  as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme that can undermine international cooperation.


Overlapping schemes can lead to the same emissions being paid for more than once. IATA is extremely concerned by the Commission’s proposal that European States would no longer implement CORSIA on all international flights.


The Single European Sky (SES) is another measure they felt could to reduce unnecessary emissions from  fragmented air traffic management (ATM) and resulting inefficiencies. Modernising European ATM through the SES initiative would cut Europe’s aviation emissions between six and 10 per cent, but national governments continue to delay implementation.


Radical new clean technologies: While it is unlikely that electric or hydrogen propulsion could have a significant impact on aviation emissions  within the EU ‘Fit for 55’ timeframe of 2030, the development of these technologies is ongoing and needs to be supported.



“Aviation’s near-term vision is to provide sustainable, affordable air transport for all European citizens with SAF-powered fleets, operating with efficient air traffic management. We should all be worried that the EU’s big idea to decarbonize aviation is making jet fuel more expensive through tax.


That will not get us to where we need to be. Taxation will destroy jobs. Incentivizing SAF will improve energy independence and create sustainable jobs. The focus must be on encouraging the production of SAF, and delivering the Single European Sky,” said Walsh.




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