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.
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.”
Bjoern Kjos, the boss of Norwegian, has talked for a long time about making Stockholm’s Arlanda airport the hub for the budget airline’s long-haul flights to Asia, on the assumption that Norwegian will be able to fly over Russia.
Mr Kjos has urged the Swedish government to negotiate a new fly-over agreement with Russia, since Sweden, Norway and Denmark’s present agreement really only applies to SAS.
“If the Swedish government wants a major hub in Stockholm then they can have one. But we must also be allowed to fly over Russia. The Swedish government appears to be interested, but Denmark and Norway prioritise SAS more,” he tells SvD, suggesting that the government should be bold enough to sidestep its Scandinavian neighbours in order to create thousands of new jobs in the Stockholm region.