A leaked report for the European Commission shows that taxing aviation fuel sold in Europe would cut the airline industry’s emissions by 11 per cent and have not net impact on jobs or the economy.

The report was completed in mid-2018 but has yet to be made public and also shows that taxing kerosene would raise nearly €27 billion in revenue every year.

Local and foreign airlines do not currently pay any excise duty on the fuel they take on at EU airports and are also not taxed on domestic flights, where taxation barriers were lifted in 2003, according to the report.

European campaign group Transport & Environment says the policy is in contrast to countries such as the US, Australia, Japan, Canada and Saudi Arabia, where fuel for domestic flights has been taxed “for many years”.

Airlines have claimed that levying a tax on fuel in Europe would cause irreparable damage to the economy, but Transport & Environment says this leaked data “debunks the industry’s myth”.

Bill Hemmings, aviation director at Transport & Environment, commented: “Aviation’s decades-long kerosene tax holiday needs to end now. This is essential to fight climate change and will help the millions afflicted by unbearable aircraft noise. Europe’s unique and deplorable status as a kerosene tax haven is indefensible.”

Transport & Environment says that EU member states have had the power to start taxing fuel but have failed to do so. The campaign claims transport is “Europe’s biggest climate problem”, representing 27 per cent of the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the group, aviation emissions grew 4.9 per cent within Europe last year, while those from other industries fell 3.9 per cent. Furthermore, CO2 produced by aircraft has increased 26.3 per cent in the last five years, outstripping any other EU emissions source.

Transport & Environment’s call for action comes as EU finance ministers prepare to meet in The Hague from 20-21 June for a two-day summit on aviation taxation.

Hemmings added: “Flying is the fastest way of frying the planet. The kerosene tax exemption subsidises frequent flyers and business travel, fuelling runway emissions and depriving government budgets. It’s high time finance and climate ministers woke up to this reality and put an end to it.”

Some airlines have made commitments to reducing their carbon emissions, with Qantas investing in research into bio-fuel and Easyjet partnering with Wright Electric to develop electric passenger aircraft.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) agreed to purchase 70,000 gallons of sustainable fuel that will see the airline reduce its emissions by around 150 tonnes, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set a goal for 1 billion passengers to travel on flights powered by a mix of jet fuel and sustainable alternatives by 2025.

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