“Our alternatives to new aviation tax”

In Dagens Industri today Christian Clemens, BRA, Rickard Gustafson, SAS and Bjørn Kjos, Norwegian, address the government’s plans for an aviation tax stating there are more effective ways of tackling emissions than through the “symbolic” tax and present “joint targets for how Sweden can lead the way for more sustainable aviation by 2030”.

The Swedish aviation industry has a joint ambition to halve fossil carbon dioxide emissions from domestic flights by 2030, from 2005 through more effective aircraft and a higher proportion of bio-fuels.

The entire aviation industry, they write, is working to create a market for large-scale bio-fuel production. Investing in more fuel-efficient planes is significantly more effective than bringing in an aviation tax. They believe the proposed tax would reduce accessibility and potential for growth. Under the first year alone it is estimated the aviation tax would mean 7,000 fewer jobs and GDP loss of almost SKr 4 billion. In the best case scenario the tax would bring emissions down by 0.2%. Sweden needs aviation not least to achieve the government’s goal for regional growth.

State giant raises alarm

The state owned airport company Swedavia has warned against the proposal to introduce an aviation tax, stressing the negative impact it will have. The company, which owns and runs ten airports including Arlanda and Landvetter, believes the proposal should not be implemented.

CEO Jonas Abrahamsson says, “The tax is being motivated by climate reasons however the state investigation shows that it leads to very limited climate benefits and that the total carbon dioxide emissions could in fact increase.” At the same time the tax would have very serious consequences for Sweden’s competitiveness.

Abrahamsson says the airlines have been clear that they may be forced to close existing routes and it would be harder to attract international airlines to establish new routes.

At the same time Swedavia’s airports broke passenger volume records last year after an increase of 5% to 39.5 million.

Kjos criticises government plans

The low-cost airline Norwegian has plans to make Arlanda Airport a hub for flights between Asia and the US, thereby creating up to 20,000 new jobs. But, warns CEO Bjorn Kjos, Norwegian will take its business elsewhere, if the Swedish government realises its plans to levy an environmental tax on air travel. Airlines will move away from Sweden and regional airports will experience problems. He believes Skavsta Airport would be forced out of business, since Ryanair would transfer its operations to Germany.

“Margins are too small. Just look at what happened when Norway introduced an aviation tax – Rygge Airport (on the outskirts of Oslo, ed.) had to close.”