Taxation on air travel is "sloppy thinking" and risks damaging the European economy, Easyjet said today.
The airline issued a statement in response to a report by the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University which says the government should reconsider its policy to expand UK airport capacity and should make flying less attractively priced.
"It is clear airlines still have their part to play in safeguarding the environment, but it is important to put this in to perspective - the European Commission"s own calculations confirm that aviation accounts for just 3% of CO2 emissions in Europe," said the Easyjet statement.
"Calling for greater taxation on air travel is sloppy thinking and risks damaging the European economy as a whole (3.1 million jobs and €221bn of GDP in the EU-15 are dependent upon aviation, accounting for 8% of Europe"s GDP). Aviation is also a key driver for integration with the new Member States and growth under the EU"s Lisbon Agenda.
"Taxation is a blunt instrument that will only put more money into the pockets of governments, whilst discriminating against the poorest in society, who until recently were priced out of the sky. Crucially, and most importantly, it does not benefit the environment."
It said applying an Emissions Trading Scheme only to intra-European short-haul travel would only cover 20% of Europe"s flying - or 1% of total EU emissions.
"This would appear to be insufficient and would only represent "tokenism" on the part of the EU. Much greater coverage could be obtained by including ex-EU flights in the scheme of classifying airports as the "installation", rather than airlines, thereby ensuring that every take-off and landing is covered - regardless of the destination of the aircraft."
By Bev Fearis
Thursday, October 19, 2006