Nearly 250 organizations from 25 countries have published an open letter addressing governments, urging them to stop ‘unfair’ bailouts of the aviation industry on environmental grounds. The aviation industry has been infamous for its callous attitude towards environmental conservation.
A call for ‘climate-just mobility’
These organizations want governments to use the present scenario to embed social and environmental conditions, with enhanced protection for workers and a planned transition towards what the group refers to as ‘climate-just mobility’.
Magdalena Heuwieser from Stay Grounded, a global network of more than 150 organizations said: “For decades, the aviation industry has avoided contributing meaningfully to global climate goals and resisted the merest suggestion of taxes on fuel or tickets. Now, airlines, airports and manufacturers are demanding huge and unconditional taxpayer-backed bailouts. We cannot let the aviation industry get away with privatizing profits in the good times, and expect the public to pay for its losses in the bad times.”
The letter lists out a number of demands for the bailout which include:
- Put people first and bail out workers, not shareholders and executives.
- Transform the transport sector in a climate-friendly way, by cutting air travel demand and strengthening low-carbon alternatives like rail travel, as well as by shifting of employment into decent climate jobs.
- End aviation “tax exemptions” while putting in place a kerosene tax and fair progressive levies on frequent flying.
- Stay Grounded claims aviation is responsible for five-to-eight percent of climate heating worldwide.
Tahir Latif from the UK trade union PCS which also represents workers in the aviation sector added: “The collapse of the aviation industry has left workers feeling vulnerable and insecure about their future. PCS and other trade unions are demanding that financial, labour and health protections are directed to aid workers. A real living basic income to enable workers to see through the crisis has to be prioritised above corporate bailouts.
The letter comes after easyJet received £600 million in government funding from the COVID Corporate Financing Facility.