Flight costs could return to 1970s prices to account for environmental impact

20 April 2021

As the UK government prepares to announce a legally binding target of cutting UK emissions by 78 percent by 2035 compared with 1990 levels, one point of focus was the amount of CO2 resulting from the UK's aviation industry. The UK is the third highest producer of carbon dioxide emissions from aviation, behind only USA and China.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Myles Allen explained that the UK would need to move to a model where carbon dioxide is treated like any other waste product. He said "... if you are going to use a product, you should pay to clean up after yourself." 

By adding the cost of carbon dioxide disposal to the cost of a flight, a transatlantic air fare could rise by hundreds of pounds - meaning that people would decide to fly less. Myles continued,"It doesn't mean you have to ban flying entirely, it jut means it will go back to costing what it did in the Seventies and Eighties."

Raising fare prices is not currently part of airline plans as the industry hopes to focus on more efficient aircraft, the use of sustainable aviation fuels and also carbon offsetting to reach net zero instead.

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