Current Affairs
Maltese Government meets with European airlines in Brussels to discuss reduction of emissions

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi has met with European airlines in Brussels to discuss the issue of reducing emissions in air travel.

This was after nine European countries proposed a new tax on airplane emissions. This news was met with disappointment by airlines around Europe which remarked that apart from the fact that they already pay a lot of tax, more taxes will not lead to these emissions being reduced but will simply mean they will have to pay more money being forked out on taxes.

The meeting in Brussels, organised by the Maltese government and ‘Airlines for Europe’, was held to discuss other means by which emissions can actually be reduced. Minister Mizzi spoke about the importance of the airlines to switch to more modern planes which pollute less, as Air Malta has done over the last few weeks by bringing two new A320-neo planes. These planes pollute around 20% less and waste much less fuel.

On its part, Malta Air, the company owned by Ryan Air in our country, will also be changing its planes to more modern models.

He explained how these are important measures for our country as Malta has registered an increase of 74% in air traffic since 2012 as the connections from our country have continued to increase one year after the other. It is also important because Malta greatly depends on its connectivity by air. For this reason, Mr Mizzi. said, Malta needs to ensure sustainability in this sector without undermining the economic growth being registered in the country.

During the same meeting, the airlines expressed their concerns about the proposals being made by these nine countries to impose a new aviation tax.  The Minister explained that there are much better methods to reduce emissions which do not involve new taxes. “As a Minister I believe that if we have better European co-ordination between the air traffic control agencies they can reduce emissions even further. I also believe that we need to use more environmentally-friendly fuel in aviation,” said Minister Mizzi while addressing the meeting.

He also spoke about what Malta is doing from the aspect of Climate Friendly Travel,  where together with SunX, Malta will be working with its social partners in the sectors of travel and tourism to propose and implement measures in favour of climate change. This will permit the tourist industry to be proactive and come to practical solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. Among the measures which are being taken there is the work being carried out on the system of blockchain technology which permits global companies and local organisations to measure their carbon footprint when they are travelling.