European airlines against proposed German climate tax on aviation

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A4E statement on German climate proposals

A4E airlines are committed to achieving carbon-neutral growth. Proposals to raise aviation taxes — whether on domestic flights in Germany or generally — will not advance Germany’s climate transition nor significantly reduce CO2 emissions from aviation. (German domestic flights currently account for 0.3% of total CO2 emissions in Germany.) Taxes do not reduce emissions – and they limit the industry’s ability to invest in new aircraft and sustainable jet fuels.

Such unilateral measures distort competition and fragment the EU’s internal market. They will also make air travel more expensive for German citizens and businesses while reducing connectivity.

The European aviation market is more liberalised than other transport sectors – resulting in greater competition and lower prices. Airlines also cover a much higher share of their infrastructure costs than, for example, the railways.

The German government is correct to focus on the development of new technologies and sustainable aviation fuels, which could reduce emissions by up to 80%.

This would provide an economic opportunity for Germany and the EU to be market leaders in climate-friendly technologies and energy sources.

Airlines in Europe already pay for their carbon emissions through the EU’s carbon trading scheme (EU ETS). Since 2013, aviation’s CO2 emissions are capped under ETS.

Carbon pricing mechanisms are a more cost-effective way to reduce emissions while providing clear incentives for airlines to improve environmental performance.

European airlines will pay around €590 million to the EU’s ETS this year – a 59% increase versus 2018.  Since 2013, aviation remains the only transport sector to participate in the ETS.

Aviation needs a global solution to a global problem. Our industry is the only sector to have a globally agreed mechanism to address its carbon emissions called CORSIA, which will enable airlines to reduce their emissions by 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 between 2020 and 2035.

Instead of taxes, the German government should support measures such as implementing the Single European Sky and reforming EU airspace – the latter would reduce fuel consumption and corresponding CO2 emissions by up to 10%.

19 September 2019

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