Taxing air travel is not a solution for cleaner aviation, Konrad Mizzi says

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi urges airlines in Europe to switch to less polluting aircraft and greater coordination between air traffic control agencies in bid to address climate change issues

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi in a meeting with airline representatives in Brussels
Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi in a meeting with airline representatives in Brussels

Airlines should switch to modern aircraft in an effort to reduce emissions in the air but imposing a carbon tax is not the right way forward, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi told airlines in Brussels. 

"We consider these as important measures, given that Malta had registered an increase of 74% in air traffic when compared to 2012, as flight connectivity increased exponentially year on year," Mizzi said.

Speaking at an Industry Roundtable meeting with Airlines in Europe, Mizzi said that Air Malta, Malta's national carrier, was undergoing a fleet replacement programme to replace its Airbus A320 ceos with A320 neos, less polluting aircraft.

Mizzi added that such measures related to the aviation sector are considered very important in an island state like Malta, as the country, he said, is heavily dependent on air connectivity. 

"Malta needs to ensure the airline sector's sustainability in order not to risk Malta's economic growth," he said. 

During the meeting, airlines expressed concerns about an Aviation Carbon Tax Proposal being proposed by nine different countries, including France, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and Bulgaria, as a measure to combat environmental damages of aviation.

Mizzi said that there are other possible methods which do not include the introduction of taxes, such as including more coordination between air traffic control agencies and the usage of environmentally-friendly fuel in aviation.

During his intervention, Mizzi also spoke about the number of measures being adopted by Malta on climate friendly travel. With SunX, a subsidiary of Panasoic, Malta is working with key stakeholders in the tourism and travel industry to propose and implement new initiatives to tackle climate change. 

Mizzi said that his ministry and SunX are working on a blockchain technology-enabled dynamic repository where global companies and local organisations will measure their travel carbon footprint.

More in National