An IATA study, Austria Air Transport Regulatory Competitiveness Indicators, recommends that to maximize the employment and prosperity opportunities created by a successful air transport industry, Austria should:
- Fully abolish the Austrian Air Transport Levy tax.
- Ensure airport and air traffic control services are as cost effective as possible, and focus on airspace modernization, including promoting the Single European Sky.
- Adopt innovative technology and processes, harmonized with EU legislation, for passenger and cargo facilitation.
The reduction in the Air Transport Levy in January 2018 was a positive step. Passenger growth of 9.9% in 2018, and increased competition at Vienna airport prove that, among other factors, the cutting of the tax has had a beneficial effect. It is also evidence that the economy could be boosted further by complete abolition of the tax: a PwC/A4E study estimated that Austrian GDP would be boosted by €320 million a year from this policy action alone.
Air transport’s contribution to the Austrian economy is significant. The industry at present supports nearly 95,00 jobs and contributes €7.6 billion to the economy, accounting for 2.1% of Austria’s GDP. If the government pursues an agenda for competitiveness, an extra 14,000 jobs and nearly €4 billion in additional GDP will be generated by 2037. In contrast, around 8,000 jobs could be lost over the same period if Austrian air transport competitiveness is not enhanced.
The environment is a key challenge and the aviation industry is committed to reducing its carbon emissions to half of 2005 levels by 2050. Substantial progress has already been made: since 1990, CO2 emissions per passenger have been halved. Meeting the 2050 goal requires significant investment in sustainable aviation fuels and new hybrid-electric technologies. If the Austrian government were to encourage such investments, it would not only be demonstrating climate leadership, it would also open up new economic opportunities for the country.
“An agenda for aviation competitiveness can deliver exciting economic and environmental progress in Austria. If the government finishes what it has started, and abolishes the air transport levy, it will boost the economy. And if this is matched with strategic policy support for sustainable aviation fuels, carbon emissions can be cut faster,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.