Over the past 50 years, aviation has reduced its emissions per passenger kilometer by as much as 80 percent. These are fantastic figures that we who work with aviation are proud of – but that does not mean that we are satisfied. That aviation should be involved and contribute to the world’s total reduction of carbon dioxide emissions is as obvious as that, for example, industry should contribute. The aviation tax has unfortunately proved to be an instrument that cannot be developed in the future.
Aviation’s environmental work has been ongoing for a long time. The engines will be better, the design of the aircraft better optimized, materials that can be lighter. We are talking about flying in a larger perspective, working on reviewing how efficient routes and approaches to airports can further reduce emissions.
Common to all the many advances that aviation stands for when it comes to making an impact on the climate is that the industry itself has driven this development. No issue today takes up more space on the aviation industry’s agenda than just the environmental issue. Common to all investments is also that they cost money to implement.
Unfortunately, the aviation tax has no positive effect on aviation’s environmental work, rather the opposite because it thins out the aviation industry’s already small margins. As a direct consequence, important environmental measures are slowed down. A key problem with the tax is that in its current form it does not provide any incentives until those who want to take the lead in climate work. If, for example, an airline buys in new aircraft that are significantly more fuel efficient, then this should of course be rewarded. Compare with if you run older aircraft with higher emissions. An airline that flies on a larger share of biofuel pays as much tax as one that does not have a drop of green fuel in mind. As the tax looks today, it does not provide any incentives for upgrading – it punishes travel and not emissions. Aviation’s ability to invest in new technology is absolutely crucial for the development of greener aviation, and here aviation tax is counterproductive.
When Fossil-Free Sweden handed over its review of how the flight’s roadmap to carbon dioxide neutrality continues, then one of the messages was that domestic flights in Sweden could become completely fossil-free tomorrow. The technology is there, it needs to be biofuels in functional quantities. In the same spirit, the transport companies have welcomed the investigation, which is presented by the government’s special investigator Maria Wetterstrand and who points out that gradual blending of biofuels will reduce aviation emissions. But in order to achieve the highest set goals, we must get started and domestic production of biofuels. There we do not see much activity on the part of the government.
We must also start talking much more about innovation, about how Sweden could inspire a whole generation of new engineers by developing the future propulsion system for aviation. Technology such as electric and hybrid aircraft is around the corner and we are not two to accelerate development. The same is true with hydrogen aviation, and technology that in the future may have different previous implementations. The point is the same: we must accelerate the development of technologies, some of which already exist. Sweden has every opportunity to become a world leader. This small country that we are still, on the outskirts of Europe, can become the role model that drives the conversion of the entire airline – not just nationally but globally. But then we must invest correctly.
If, instead of just introducing new levies for aviation, we invest in giving aviation the conditions to change, if we use our fantastic infrastructure for research, if we model our domestic aviation industry with its long experience of developing both aircraft and aircraft engines , and if we use our forest resource for the production of fossil-free fuel, then Sweden will be the country that others look up to. A permanent world exhibition of dialed.
If, instead of opposing development, we create a national action plan for maintaining competitiveness, and a roadmap for electrification of domestic aviation, and if we provide support from the state for research and production of biofuels, then we will also be the first to witness the aviation revolution that is approaching.
Otherwise, the risk is that other countries will drive development in the directions that suit them. The result is that Sweden will neither become a leader in sustainability work nor can maintain the competitiveness that underlies our ability to innovate. A necessary first step in the right direction is that the aviation tax in its current form transfers in favor of investments that actually make a difference.
CEO of Transportföretagen
industry manager Transport companies, the aviation industry