Jet jackpot, bank boats & supersonic surprise

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The idea of taxing aviation more is gaining momentum. At a conference in The Hague last week, ministers from across Europe said flying has to start paying its fair share and called on the EU to take the issue seriously.

Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden are on board, as is the rail industry. But the aviation sector itself thinks that improving technology and how flying is managed is the way forward.

Air traffic management has been helped by EU regulation according to the bloc’s watchdog but funding has been “largely unnecessary“. Today’s report says the benefits of the EU’s €3.8bn outlay are “far from clear” and suggested a review of policy.

Can the EU even do anything about tax though? Its hands are tied because it is strictly a national domain but the Commission has suggested scrapping vetoes when it comes to environmental matters. 

Ryanair was the first airline to start publishing monthly emission reports and now Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air has followed suit. Claiming to be the greenest in Europe, the airline attributes its success to its young and efficient fleet of aircraft.

Ireland will use €350m in EIB funding to transform Dublin airport. The move was denounced by green groups, which said the money could be better spent on public transport.

Germany’s rail operator has pledged to increase its passenger and freight capacities to help climate action efforts. The top line is that Deutsche Bahn will aim for 100% renewable energy by 2038.

The Commission gave its blessing to German state aid worth nearly half a billion euros, meant to retrofit diesel vehicles. New EU data confirmed that car CO2 emissions increased in 2018. Van emissions rose for the first time. Daimler’s profits are lower than expected, again, thanks mostly to the Dieselgate hangover.

Poland might be on the verge of squandering a clean air programme worth €25bn though, after the government drew the ire of the Commission. More on this story as it develops.

Big banks will keep CO2 in mind when granting loans to shipping companies, under the excellently-named “Poseidon Principles”. Norway set a target of halving shipping and fishing emissions by 2030. Emission-free ports and zero-carbon oil vessels could be part of the plan.

As Boris Johnson stands on the cusp of becoming the UK’s new PM, the cost of no-deal preparation in the transport sector was revealed. Much of the spending was on contracts that were never fulfilled.

At the Paris Air Show, a company attempting to put the world’s fastest commercial jet into service revealed its hand. “Boom” will launch a demonstrator aircraft this year and a supersonic flight is pencilled in for 2020.

The world’s first all-electric passenger plane also took a step towards reality: ‘ALICE’, produced by Israeli company Eviation, aims to be licensed in 2021 and take off in 2022.

And hats off to the Netherlands for hosting its aviation carbon tax summit at Madurodam – the mini-Netherlands. Maybe the secret to cleaner planes is to make them much smaller… Watch out for the seagulls though.

Stat of the week

$15 billion: the estimated total of aircraft sales at this year’s Paris Air Show

What else I’m reading

Do EU rules prevent UK nationalising its railways? [Independent]

New rules for electric vehicle charge-points [Press Association]

Stop Heathrow expansion to save the planet [Guardian]

SpaceX to launch ‘sun sail’ [New Scientist]

Next stops

EU ministers are meeting in Luxembourg today for an energy and transport council. After midday, they’ll talk about the Commission’s NECP assessment

Environment ministers meet on 26 June, where shipping, aviation tax and clean mobility are all on the docket

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