Petition launched for higher EU tax on aviation fuel


June 10th, 2019

A group of European citizens is hoping to gain one million signatures for a petition calling for an end to tax exemption for aviation fuel within the EU.

The petition calls on
the European Commission to introduce a “regressive tax” on aviation fuel that
would impose higher tax on short flights where alternative transport options
are readily available.  

The petition is a European
Citizens’ Initiative
(ECI), an official petition system that gives European
citizens the right to recommend EU legislation to the European Commission.

To be successful, an ECI has to be
backed by at least one million EU citizens, coming from at least seven out of
the 28 member states within 12 months of its launch. In Ireland, around 8,250
Irish signatories are required.

A recent leaked report commissioned
by the European Commission suggests that the EU’s
aviation industry is “chronically” undertaxed, especially compared to
non-European markets.

The report leaked to the
Brussel-based group Transport and Environment (T&E) also shows that higher
taxation on aviation fuel within the EU would cut emissions by at least 10 per
cent, increase revenue for the bloc and still keep the health of the economy intact.

The reduction in carbon emissions
through kerosene taxation would be equivalent to removing almost 8 million cars
from our roads, according to T&E.

Compared to countries including the
US, Australia, Brazil and China, Europe remains significantly tax-friendly for
the aviation industry, according to the report.

An EU Directive exempts
airlines from having to pay tax on commercial aircraft fuel, although fuel can
be taxed for domestic aviation subject to a bilateral agreement among member

None of the 28 Member States have
agreed to increase taxation on kerosene or gas oil fuel since 2003, while the
likes of Canada and Japan and Armenia have upped their kerosene tax.

The young organisers of the new
petition have said that tax exemption is partly to blame for the 21 per cent
increase in EU aviation emissions over the past three years which exceeds rises
in any other emission source within the EU.

Earlier in April, Ryanair was named among the EU’s top 10 carbon emitters by T&E, the first airline to enter their list which
traditionally features fossil fuel power plants.

A spokesperson for Ryanair dismissed
the NGO survey, telling The Irish Times that the company was one of
Europe’s “greenest and cleanest”.

Calling on the public to support for
ECI, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) said that the environment pays a
hefty price for our cheap air travel tickets.

“Plane ticket prices are very
attractive only because of the unjustified tax advantages for the aviation
industry,” according to FIE, who previously raised a legal challenge to the expansion
of Dublin airport.

“Train tickets remain considerably more expensive, giving the aviation sector a competitive advantage, which undermines our emission reduction objectives.”

About the Author

Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.

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