For too long, airlines have been allowed to pollute for free. Under the European Union’s legislation on energy taxation, all Member States can and do exempt airlines from paying tax on the fuel they burn for international flights. This means that airlines can emit damaging greenhouse gas emissions for free, despite the unfolding climate crisis.
This year the European Commission is due to revise the legislation that allows for this exemption. This means we have a unique opportunity to ensure that airlines pay their fair share and put in place measures that will ensure the transport sector’ growing emissions are addressed. But we need you to send the Commission a message that it must end this exemption.
While airlines are facing a huge crisis, we must remember that all transport modes are struggling under the impact of Covid-19 and that the tax exemption for airlines is a fossil fuel subsidy that has long been a source of unfair competition between the different transport modes. When the ordinary citizen puts petrol in their car, they pay tax on this fuel. When railway operators use electricity to power their trains, they pay tax. Why shouldn’t airlines have to do the same? This is not about penalising airlines. it is about ensuring that airlines pay their fair share and that the recovery from Covid-19 is truly green.
The EU rewards the polluting airline industry instead of trying to make it more sustainable and socially responsible, which is against the spirit of the European Green Deal. Airlines in the EU already benefit from huge state subsidies, many employ precarious employment practices to the detriment of workers, and the non-CO2 effects of aviation are completely unregulated, despite warming the planet significantly more than CO2 emissions. Member States have given tens of billions of euro in state aid funding during the pandemic without any commitments on improvements to working conditions or becoming more sustainable. We cannot return to ‘business as usual’ in the aviation industry. Urge the European Commission to rectify this historical injustice and promote a social and ecological recovery for aviation. Urge the European Commission to ensure airlines pay their fair share and end tax benefits for polluters.
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