Courtesy of a UK Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the distribution of the population flying in the UK demonstrates that a small proportion of the population (10%) is responsible for most aviation emissions.
In 2018, 48% of the UK population didn’t fly.
Of the 52% who did, 1% of the population accounted for 18% of flights, 10% of the population accounted for 52% of flights, and 20% of the population accounted for 70% of flights. This distribution pattern is not surprising, but shocking.
To put this another way, 1% of the UK population is responsible for over 1% of UK emissions just by flying (18% of the 6.5% of UK emissions for aviation)! The likelihood is that this 1% has a strong correlation to wealth. Given these figures, charging a realistic price for emissions on anyone taking more than two return trips by air a year might make good policy sense, particularly when the tax treatment of aviation is reviewed.
There should be a review of the taxation of international aviation to include the appropriate level of fuel duty, sales tax on tickets and whether a frequent flyer tax is appropriate. This project should be initiated by the OECD to cover the linkage between emission reduction and taxation.
It would be interesting to find the figures for other countries. I will leave you to do the math on the picture below.
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