Fit For 55 Risks Damaging European Connectivity—IATA

IATA's Rafael Schvartzman addresses Routes Europe.
Credit: Ocean Driven Media

IATA’s regional vice-president for Europe Rafael Schvartzman has called for changes to the European Commission’s "Fit for 55" emissions reduction package, saying the measures as they stand could damage connectivity across the region.

Under Fit for 55, the EU hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The stated aim is for Europe to become the world's first climate neutral continent by 2050.

The package, which was set out last July, includes a mandate for the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), a reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and a proposed fuel tax.

Taken together, IATA estimates that by 2035, Fit for 55 could add €38 ($40) per ticket on an average flight in Europe, and €205 on the average transatlantic flight.

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“The European Green Deal and the Fit for 55 legislative package promised new opportunities but could also damage our industry if the policies are mismanaged,” Schvartzman said at Routes Europe 2022 in Bergen, Norway.

“The recognition of the importance of SAF in the Fit for 55 initiative is welcome. But it doesn't make sense to propose that SAF must be delivered at almost every airport in Europe. A more flexible booking claim system would enable airlines to purchase SAF where it is more most economically efficient.

“Similarly, we will encourage the EU to apply the CORSIA international carbon offsetting scheme to intra-European aviation and the idea of a jet fuel tax must be dropped.”

Schvartzman added that there is “still time to make Fit for 55 fit for purpose,” but as it stands warned the package “could mean the end of affordable European air travel and throw into reverse a process which has democratized travel for millions of European citizens.”

Overall, IATA believes that if adopted in its current form, Fit for 55 will damage the competitiveness of European airlines in exchange for a “marginal” reduction in CO2.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.