Antti Rinne, the chairperson of the Social Democrats, says an aviation tax should ideally cover the entire world or, at least, all of Europe. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

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ANTTI RINNE, the chairperson of the Social Democratic Party, has firmly denied claims that the party has sketched out a plan to introduce an aviation tax in Finland.

“The Social Democrats hasn’t drawn up any plans regarding an aviation tax in Finland,” he affirmed on Thursday. “If an aviation tax is someday adopted, it’ll hopefully be a global one or, at least, a European one.”

Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (SDP), a Member of the European Parliament, said in Jyväskylä on Wednesday the Social Democrats has tossed around the idea of proposing that a six-euro tax be levied on domestic flights.

“The number could be something like six euros in domestic travel,” she estimated during a climate-related debate between candidates in the elections to the European Parliament. “It doesn’t cover everything, but it’d be a harmless number. This is the kind of number we’ve tentatively worked with heading into the coalition formation talks.”

Rinne on Thursday reminded that the party has laid out its position on the issue in its programmes.

“There are a number of different opinions on the issue in the party, but our programmes tell what’s the party’s position. The Social Democrats hasn’t drawn up any plans regarding an aviation tax in Finland,” he reiterated.

The idea of an aviation tax was supported in Jyväskylä on Wednesday also by Silja Keränen (Greens) and Janne Parkkila (Left Alliance).

Parkkila reminded that airlines have already begun work on a common emissions trading mechanism for the industry. “According to Eurostat, half of European air travel comes from flights within a single country. It’s nonsensical to fly back and forth inside one country. Well, the Helsinki—Oulu route is something you could think about,” he said.

Olli Kotro (PS), in turn, argued that air traffic accounts for only a small share of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union.

“My understanding is that air traffic makes up three to five per cent of emissions in the whole EU. This is why air traffic is a sensitive topic when you start talking about emissions. If you take drastic action in terms of air traffic, you could undermine the business of Finnair, for example,” he cautioned.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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