Tax billions to the aviation industry

Studies dealing with subsidies in the aviation industry are few and far between. No one really knows how much money is forwarded to the global aviation industry, but the total is likely to amount to many billions of Euros each year.

"For the first time ever, we present a conceptualisation of the different types of subsidies forwarded to aviation and how these may be calculated", says professor Stefan Gössling, who published the study with two fellow economics professors, Frank Fichert (University of Applied Sciences Worms, Germany) and Peter Forsyth (Southern Cross University, Australia).

In 2015, US airlines published a White Paper in which they accused Gulf carriers for receiving a large number of subsidies. Qatar Airways, Etihad and Emirates were in focus in this document, which became the basis for the scientific work relating to the different subsidies.

"US airlines suggest that subsidies have distorted market conditions, and contributed to the rapid growth of Gulf carriers. According to the White Paper, they received more than US$ 40 billion in subsidies and other state benefits during the last decade alone", Gössling continues.

The scientific conceptualisation of the different subsidies has focused on the airline industry in industrialised countries. Results show that subsidies are significant, and forwarded to manufacturers, companies working with infrastructure, and for the airlines themselves.

"Subsidies are considerable and have potentially negative consequences, such rapidly growing capacity in the aviation system, economic vulnerabilities, and negative climate change related impacts. It is questionable that a wide range of subsidies continues to be appropriate measures to support aviation", Gössling explains.

The authors request a review of the subsidies, which are often hidden and difficult to track down.

"It is problematic that the form of transportation that has the largest impact on the environment receives financial support, in a situation where the airline industry already grows with approximately 5% every year."

More information

The article "Subsidies in Aviation" is published in Sustainability, Volume 9, Issue 8, (August 2017). The authors of the article are: Frank Fichert, Hochschule Worms, Germany, Peter Forsyth, Southern Cross University, Australia, and Stefan Gössling, Linnaeus University.

The full article can be found on http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/9/8/1295


Stefan Gössling, professor of tourism studies, phone: +4670-492 26 34, email: stefan.gossling@lnu.se

Annika Sand, senior press officer, phone: +4676-830 01 05