Research commissioned by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) suggests that “environmental taxes” would prove highly unpopular across Europe.
Instead, IATA said governments considering proposals for an EU-wide tax on air tickets should “listen to their citizens” and tackle the issue of sustainable aviation by other means.
An IATA survey found that the most preferred government actions among respondents were supporting the development of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) and new technology.
The public want to see the industry and governments taking action on emissions—making it more expensive for people to fly is not the answer
Environmental taxes were one of the least popular options, with just 22% of those surveyed saying they would support such developments.
“The way forward for aviation and the environment is sustainable aviation fuels,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General and CEO. “Promoting their commercialization will do more than any other tax.”
“The research shows the public’s feeling are very clear, people want to travel and they value the freedom to fly.
“They want to see the industry and governments taking action on emissions—making it more expensive for people to fly is not the answer.”
Commercial aviation is responsible for around 2% of annual global carbon emissions. The industry has a target to cap CO2 through carbon-neutral growth from 2020, and to cut emissions in half by 2050, compared to a 2005 benchmark.
Achievement of this target ensures aviation’s compatibility with the goals of the Paris climate agreement, to limit global warming to between 1.5-2 degrees.
De Juniac said the industry takes the challenge posed by climate change “very seriously” and said the research showed the public want governments to work with the industry in the areas of clean fuels and hybrid or electric technology.