Sweden introduces aviation tax to reduce impact on climate
Sweden introduced a new aviation tax on 1 April, 2018, adding extra charge to all passenger flights departing from the country in order to lessen the impact air travel has on the environment.
"The objective of the tax is to minimize the carbon footprint of flights following a sharp increase in air travel," climate minister and Greens spokeswoman Isabella Lövin told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
All flights from Sweden will have an extra charge ranging from 60 to 400 krona (€6 to €39) depending on the destination. The charge applies to all travelers except babies, flight crews, passengers stopping over without changing planes and—in some circumstances—those in transit to take another flight.
A recent survey published in March, 2018, by pollster Ipsos found that an increasing number of Swedes are in favor of the tax with a small majority of 53% voting to support the initiative. This is an increase of 9% since he same poll was carried out a year ago resulting in 44% support for the tax.
However, the tax was not received positively by airline companies. When aviation tax was proposed by the Swedish government back in 2017, three major airlines SAS, BRA and Norwegian teamed up in an opinion piece published in Dagens Industri. The airlines argued that the tax would have minimal positive impact on the environment. The companies said that they have aspirations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2030. The ambition is to be achieved by operating climate and fuel efficient aircraft and by using biofuel.
Sweden is not the only Scandinavian country making efforts to slow climate change. Norway announced that it plans to buy electric passenger planes to reduce aviation’s impact on the environment. The initiative comes after Norway’s success with green cars, encouraged by big tax breaks which made the country the world leader on electric cars.
State firm Avinor, which runs 45 airports in Norway, said the commitment to battery-powered aircraft could encourage development of electric and hybrid technologies by companies such as Airbus or Boeing, Reuters reports.
However electric planes are still problematic to operate in commercial air travel with limited range and weight.
Yet some manufacturers are teaming up to develop hybrid electric engines to the market. Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens teamed up to develop a hybrid electric engine and in October, 2017 a start-up backed by Boeing and JetBlue Airways also announced plans to bring a hybrid-electric aircraft, with up to 12 passengers, to market by 2022.
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