The Impact and Role of Indirect Taxes Surrounding the Aviation Sector in Mitigating Climate Change: A Legal and Economic Analysis

Aviation is one of the energy-intensive sectors that significantly contribute to climate change. This paper analyses the legal framework surrounding taxes applied to international civil aviation in order to determine the extent to which taxes could be adopted so as to internalize the environmental costs of air transportation. In a first part, this article discusses the indirect taxes that are currently applied to international civil aviation from an international, European and national tax law perspective. The objective is to critically assess the preferential tax treatments in favour of the sector of international civil aviation in comparison to other transportation sectors. Then, in a second part, this article puts numbers on the legal tax advantages that benefit the international civil aviation sector. Third, in light of the limits of the current legal framework, this paper proposes to level the playing field between international civil aviation and other transportation sectors in order to (more consistently) internalize the negative environmental effects of international civil aviation.