MIAMI – The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) has warned that a new French environmental tax would fail to decarbonize the aviation sector. Additionally, the tax would entail a loss of 150,000 aviation jobs.

The Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat (CCC) proposed an eco-tax on flight tickets issued in France. Accordingly, the measure will raise €4.2bn and reduce emissions by 3.5 million tonnes per year. However, the reduced amount represents less than 1% of France’s total emissions.

As the main affected party, the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) made its estimations. The CCC implementation would lead to major losses that include several job cuts and a cost of €5-6bn on the country’s GDP.

The aviation industry already has global commitments to decarbonize. From 2021 to 2050, the sector is set on cutting its net carbon footprint level to half of those from 2005.

Air France Airbus A380-800. Photo: Anna Zvereva

IATA’s View

On its part, IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said that the proposal cannot be taken seriously. In this crisis, coherent policies that save jobs are needed, not policies that destroy them, he added.

According to de Juniac, the aviation industry is a leader in decarbonizing. The sector was the world’s first to deliver emissions commitments despite being heavily carbon dependent. Furthermore, IATA warned that a unilateral approach to reducing aviation emissions could compromise the progress that the industry has been already made.

Thus, the CCC should provide the sector with support to achieve its green roadmap if it wants to decarbonize aviation. In addition, the proposal should consider that intra-European operations are subject to the European emissions trading scheme.

Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. Photo: Burkhard Mücke.

Proposal Repercussions over Agreed Aviation Scheme

Globally, governments agreed to the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The framework applies to all international flights through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

If France imposes this “debilitating unilateral national” tax, it could “jeopardize” CORSIA, said de Juniac. In his own words, the CCC proposal “will be horrendous if doing so gives large emitters or developing nations an excuse not to support CORSIA.”

So far, the French eco-tax is charged on passengers departing from the country’s airports since January 1, 2020.

Featured image: