I know this isn't totally on topic, however it still will have a big effect of future developements in air travel.
Today’s British Times had what I consider to be really outrageous news. The EU is looking into introducing an environmental tax within the next 18 months. The tax would be around €10 per passenger per flight hour! It would be introduced to encourage more reasonable flying and hence eliminate unnecessary trips by passengers who buy very cheap tickets from low-cost airlines
****quote from The Times.co.uk***
AIR passengers face having to pay an environmental charge of up to £50 a ticket under a European plan to force airlines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The charge could be imposed on all airlines within two years, adding £50 to the cost of flying from London to California, £35 to flights to New York and between £5 and £10 to flights within Europe.
Holidaymakers and budget airline passengers would be most affected by the levy, which the aviation industry denounced last night as a “tax on holidays”. Virgin Atlantic said airlines would have no choice but to pass the charge on to passengers.
Air travel is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions: the average jet pumps just under one tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for each passenger it carries from London to New York. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change has calculated that aviation causes 3.5 per cent of man-made global warming and has predicted that this could rise to 15 per cent by 2050.
Britain is one of several EU countries that support a charge. The Government’s Green Paper, The Future of Aviation, states that the absence of a tax on kerosene is an anomaly and introducing one would “place environmental costs on the polluter”.
Until now, airlines have escaped paying tax on fuel consumption or emissions, arguing that they could simply fly to another country with no tax and fill up there. Only Norway imposes a carbon dioxide tax on domestic flights.
But the European Commission is now preparing to recommend a European-wide charging system both to encourage airlines to buy more fuel-efficient aircraft and to deter people from flying.
Another option would be for a revenue neutral scheme under which the worst polluting airlines would pay a charge that would be used to reward the least polluting ones. But Ron Wit, co-author of an environmental report that will go to the Commission this month, said that such a scheme would have far less impact on emissions.
Mr Wit, of the Dutch consultants CE Delft, said the Commission was likely to produce recommendations in the second half of this year and if they were accepted by ministers from member states, legislation could be introduced after about 18 months.
He added: “Of course there would be a reduction in the number of people who want to fly. Setting the level will be a political choice but compared with a few years ago the airlines are more aware of their environmental problems and they accept that aviation is contributing to climate change.”
The charge would be collected by Eurocontrol, which manages European airspace and charges airlines a fee for each flight.
CE Delft has explored various options for how the money could be spent. It could simply be passed on to member states or placed in an international climate change fund working to mitigate the impact of rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns.
The airlines argue that the £1 billion passengers pay each year in departure tax is roughly equal to the environmental damage arising from flights.
Greener by Design, a lobby group established to oppose any fuel charge, said that such a tax would damage people’s freedom to fly. “This is nothing other than a holiday tax and poor people and those who pay fares out of their own pocket would suffer most.”
Tim Johnson, of the Aviation Environment Federation coalition of green groups, said the charge would deter people from making non-essential trips: “Offering flights to Dublin for £8 return is creating demand that wouldn’t be there if the price was more realistic.”
Errrr hello, yes I do appreciate that aviation is a big polluter, but come on, is this not going too far? When I read it first earlier today in the paper edition, the first thing that crossed through my mind was that it was thought up by classic airlines as a away of defending themselves from the low-cost airlines. Okay, I better stop being so suspicious. But still, €30 on a €5000 Concorde ticket hardly has the same effect as €15 on a €30 easyJet ticket.
Opinions? Time to start writing to our local politicians?
Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004