The Transport Minister of France, Clément Beaune, has proposed a minimum ticket price for airlines operating in the European Union. France seeks support in this proposal to reduce carbon emissions caused by short-haul flights and incentivise customers to use less-polluting methods of transport. Mr Beaune has garnered criticism from Ryanair head Eddie Wilson, who deems it “politically impossible”.
Clément Beaune Proposes a Minimum Ticket Price
Mr Beaune’s proposal would hit low-cost airlines like Ryanair, where tickets from London to Milan can be as cheap as £8.
Mr Wilson, Chief Executive of Ryanair, claimed the proposition sent a message that would limit travellers from lower-income backgrounds: “All that is saying is that poor people can’t travel and that generally doesn’t fly in France”. The proposed measure certainly has the potential to be controversial – many island nations in Europe rely on air travel and heightened air fares threaten sectors that rely heavily on tourism.
However, Beaune did note the impact such a measure could have on those with less disposable income. “It’s not a question of multiplying by ten the price of tickets.”, the Minister stated, “Because there are also people who take a plane once in their life, who don’t have much money”. He disagreed with the notion that air travel should be only reserved for the rich, labelling it a “Freedom”.
Earlier this year, Mr Beaune introduced a tax increase on first-class tickets to incentivize railway travel and to fund the nation’s plans to develop its train line.
“Le transport aérien a déjà donné”
The aforementioned tax increase was met with criticism from Syndicat des Compagnies Aériennes Autonomes, or SCARA, who wrote, “Le transport aérien a déjà donné” — the Aviation industry has done enough [for sustainability]. The Syndicate questioned how further research into sustainable aviation would continue with profits diminishing thanks to said taxes.
Reuters reports criticism from Airlines for Europe in the face of this minimum price proposal. In a letter sent to EU countries last week, the airline association, representing 70% of EU air traffic, wrote,
“We do not support initiatives that would violate the established rights under EU Law of airlines.”
Mr Beaune has affirmed that he would be open to discussion on the matter, stating,
“I think it’s a discussion we have to have at the EU level.”
Support for the proposed bill, and indeed its implementation, remains uncertain.
Are you in favour of a minimum ticket price on EU flights? Will it aid the aviation industry’s path to net zero? Let us know in the comments below!