The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has expressed its extreme disappointment that the ECOFIN meeting in Luxemburg Tuesday did not result in the abandonment of proposals for a tax on air transport to support third world development.
“Development is a serious issue that needs a serious solution. But focusing on airline travellers, whether with a tax or a voluntary contribution, is absolutely not the way to do it. No industry has done more for development than air transport by linking nations and facilitating tourism. Development needs commitment, not politics. And air transport needs common sense, not more taxation,” said Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
A strong European air transport industry needs coherent and harmonised policies. “This tax proposal is yet another example of national European leaders sacrificing competitiveness for political agendas.”
“Putting a stop to this mis-guided tax proposal is a golden opportunity for the European institutions to prove they are serious about creating a more competitive Europe,” said Bisignani. “The industry urgently requires a level playing field and a harmonised operating environment. The Lisbon Agenda for competitiveness must be applied to air transport. It is time for change.”
Bisignani also commented on the previous European Commission’s failures, “The previous Commission did not understand air transport and the vital role it plays. As a result, ineffective policy-mis-regulation and micromanagement-is its legacy. The cost to Europe’s air transport industry is US$7.6 billion (EUR 5.9 billion) each year.”