The European Commission has put forward the Fit for 55 proposals to achieve a 55% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 relative to 1990 levels, and to meet net zero targets by 2050. In particular, to address the aviation sector’s impact on the environment, the European Commission has proposed mandating the use of sustainable aviation fuels (in its ReFuelEU Directive), requiring the supply of electricity to stationary aircraft (in the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation, AFIR), and putting an effective price on CO2 emissions and jet fuel (through the EU Emission Trading System, ETS, implementation of CORSIA, and the European Taxation Directive, ETD). These policies are targeted at reducing carbon emissions associated with aviation and do not address non-CO2 warming effects, such as those caused by contrails.
ACI EUROPE asked us to consider the impact of the European Commission’s Fit for 55 proposals on airport operators. The key findings from our report conclude:
- Our analysis shows that the Fit for 55 proposals will lead to additional costs that will need to be borne by airports, airlines, and/or passengers.
- The Fit for 55 proposals will reduce demand at European airports compared to a scenario where these policies are not implemented (i.e. a business-as-usual scenario).
- Of the five policies evaluated, demand in 2030 is most affected by the implementation of the ETD and the ETS, while the SAF mandate in the ReFuelEU proposal has the largest effect on demand in 2050.
- The Fit for 55 proposals have a more significant effect on demand and carbon emissions on direct intra-European flights compared to direct extra-European flights
- The Fit for 55 policies will have a much greater impact on airlines and passengers travelling through EU hubs compared to non-EU hubs, leading to a distortion of competition and the leaking of carbon emissions outside of the EU.
- As a result, EU hubs will lose connecting passengers, who will choose to hub through non-EU airports instead.
- The Fit for 55 policies will lead to a reduction in net carbon emissions.