The House of Common’s Environmental Audit Committee issued a report on MPs’ policy ideas to reduce carbon emissions from transport. easyJet, one of the world’s most environmentally efficient airlines, regrets that the report fails to address the most obvious solutions to achieve a reduction of emissions from aviation and instead simply recommends increasing aviation taxes.
The report issued today fails to take into account the most obvious and effective measures to reduce emissions from aviation, which would make a great difference, such as the reform of air traffic control (potential to reduce emissions between 8-18%.) or ending state aid which typically goes to struggling national airlines, generally operating older, dirtier aircraft with low load factors.
Moreover the inclusion of aviation in the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) will create a strong incentive mechanism for airlines to become more environmentally efficient. There also needs to be greater emphasis on technological improvements and aircraft manufacturers - rather than taxing air travellers.
Instead of these positive measures, the report of the Committee recommends punitive taxes as the answer to address emissions from aviation. Taxes, however, constitute a blunt policy mechanism, which will do nothing for environmental efficiency and instead will only put more money into the government’s pockets. The idea to price the most price-sensitive and less affluent customers (i.e. the poorest in society) out of the sky as the means to reduce emissions from aviation is not only a blunt and unimaginative measure - but it is also unnecessary, given that there are better options available, such as the urgently needed air traffic control reform.
It is also important to note that aviation only accounts for 3% EU CO2, a small proportion in comparison to road transport (20% of EU CO2) about which the Committee has also opined today. Low-fares airlines like easyJet are highly environmentally efficient, as we fly with the youngest fleet in Europe, with high load factors, operating point-to-point traffic, which significantly reduces the number of take-offs and landings. Aviation has always been a key driver for technological development in the past and easyJet has made major investments in recent years.
Aviation, in contrast to other modes of transport, is the lifeline of the economy and particularly the UK as an island heavily relies on efficient air links for its competitiveness. Increasing taxes for aviation will have negative implications for the UK’s economy and competitiveness as a whole.
The report also fails to mention that rail is the greatest single user of electricity in Europe and that the idea of building lots of high-speed rail links at the taxpayer’s expense comes at a huge environmental and financial cost.
EasyJet has also been nominated this year for a
World Travel Award as Europe’s Leading Budget / No Frills Airline.