A minimum price for flights in Europe, if adopted, could help reduce airline carbon emissions. But France’s proposal has struggled to become a reality, especially as tourism industries in several destinations depend on low-cost flights.
France will seek support from other European Union countries for a minimum price on flights in Europe, with the aim of reducing the contribution of the aviation sector to climate changedeclared Transport Minister Clément Beaune.
This decision, if approved, would affect airlines offering very cheap fares. But it may struggle to win enough support among EU countries, which include island nations that rely on air travel and regions whose tourism sectors are supported by low-cost flights.
France’s goal is “to open the debate on the fair social and environmental price of plane tickets,” Beaune said in written comments.
“It’s not about increasing ticket prices tenfold. For what? Because there are also people who take the plane once in their life, who don’t have a lot of money – it’s also a freedom, a means of transport that cannot be reserved for only rich,” he said.
EU officials told Reuters that countries including the Netherlands and Belgium supported the idea in principle. Austria had already proposed a minimum price, but faced legal difficulties in moving it forward, EU officials said.
“I think this is a discussion we need to have at the European level,” Beaune said.
Winning broader support could prove difficult. Negotiations between EU countries on a proposal to tax polluting aviation fuel have reached an impasse, with some governments opposing measures that could raise prices for voters ahead of Europe’s elections. next year.
The EU has put in place measures to curb the environmental impact of the flight. European flights will pay a higher price for their CO2 emissions in the coming years, as part of the European carbon market.
A minimum ticket price could disrupt the business model of carriers like Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, which offers very low fares on some routes in Europe.
Ryanair closed its two-plane base at Brussels’ Zaventem airport over the past winter due to rising fees and taxes, after Belgium introduced a 10 euro tax per passenger on flights of less than 500 km and a tax of 2 euros per departing passenger on EU routes. .
Departing flights accounted for about 5% of Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic reduced air traffic, according to the European Aviation Safety Agency .
(Reporting by Kate Abnett, additional reporting by Joanna Plucinska, editing by Alexandra Hudson)