e-newsletter, January 2007
Welcome to the monthly e-news of
IAOPA-Europe, which goes out to 23,000 AOPA members
across the continent of Europe.
e-news is made possible by our lead sponsor AERO
Friedrichshafen, Europe’s most important general
aviation exhibition, to be held from April 19 to April
22. Get it in your diary now! (See below)
EC tax disaster for flight
The European Commission has ordered states to
conform to standard tax levels on general aviation fuel in an
extraordinary decision which threatens to damage flight
training, end alternative fuel research and drive more general
aviation companies to the wall.
The EC is
demanding that all states impose a minimum of 0.45 euros per
litre in tax on avgas and has rejected requests from France,
Portugal, the United Kingdom, Malta and Sweden for
‘derogations’ to allow their current tax levels to remain.
effect in some countries will be dramatic. In Sweden, the
price of avgas is expected to almost double, while in Britain
– where the cost of flight training is already the highest in
the world among countries which have a significant flight
training industry – costs will be driven higher and more
flight training will be lost to America.
are hugely disparate across Europe, and higher taxes will make
the situation worse rather than better. In Britain, a student
pilot can expect to pay 160,000 euros for an integrated ATPL
course with type rating which would allow him or her to apply
for an airline job. By contrast, in Germany avgas is heavily
taxed and the price of fuel is higher, but the airlines pay
for flight training – Lufthansa trains 300 pilots a year at
its own expense. In Britain, the aviation industry meets the
entire cost of the Civil Aviation Authority, a massive drain
on general aviation resources, while in other European
countries such ‘services’ are free. And everywhere,
conventions on retail margins are vastly different.
Sweden there is no tax on avgas, partly in recognition of the
fact that oil companies there have invested millions of euros
to create unleaded and ETBE avgas – a research program which
is no longer affordable under the EC’s tax regime. Consumption
in Sweden is expected to fall by 50 percent as the retail
price, currently around 0.90 euros a litre for unleaded avgas,
almost doubles. By convention, the rule of thumb is that a tax
increase should be doubled to find where the price will
settle. Tax increases reduce consumption while overheads
remain the same, and distribution efficiencies disappear. The
EC’s tax sledgehammer is particularly inappropriate in the
tiny avgas market, where specialist companies provide fuels in
Avgas production in Europe
equals one quarter of the motor fuel that evaporates from car
tanks. Revenues from the additional taxes will be utterly
negligible, and as some countries have pointed out, will cost
more to collect than they will raise. Portugal sought an
exemption on these grounds. Malta cited competition from
non-EC countries, to whom we are exporting our flight training
industry. The United Kingdom made the same point, while
complaining of compliance costs and raising the issue of
safety, as users were tempted to forsake avgas for motor fuel.
Sweden quoted the requirement for access to remote
communities, and the need for affordability in flying to
foster currency and therefore safety. The EC, however,
brusquely dismissed every request, and failed even to consider
those from Denmark and Poland at all.
While the EC’s
tax directive describes avgas as being used for “private
pleasure flying” its definition is so loosely written that few
users will escape. Some GA companies are worried that their
national governments will raise taxes beyond the EU minimum,
using the EC order as an excuse, and several national AOPAs
have scheduled meetings with their governments to try to keep
the damage to a minimum.
If you are buying, selling, importing
or operating an aircraft - THINK ABOUT THE VAT.
EC ducks inspections issue
European Commission has decided to ignore pleas for an end to
multiple national inspections for aircraft being bought and
sold across intra-European borders.
years of prompting from AOPA-Sweden the EC has announced it
will take no action to end the costly and pointless practice
which would seem, on the face of it, to be exactly the sort of
thing the European Union was set up to put a stop to.
present, an aircraft being exported from most European
countries must undergo an export inspection, usually at a cost
of several thousand euros payable to the national aviation
authority or its agents. When it is flown to another European
country it must undergo an import inspection to satisfy that
country’s aviation authority, again costing a lot of money. In
2003 AOPA-Sweden requested action from the EC to end this
situation, but their requests were ignored. After repeated
reminders from Sweden, the EC announced in December it would
AOPA-Sweden’s Lars Hjelmberg says: “It
seems that Europe has no interest in general aviation other
than to tax it. What is the European Union for, if not to end
such practices as these? We believe it is illegal because it
obstructs the free movement of goods and possessions across
national boundaries within the EU. It is regrettable that the
EC now chooses to run away from the issue.”
Flying Shop – recognized as among the best of the UK’s
pilots’ supplies outlets – offer friendly advice and detailed
knowledge of Headsets, Avionics, Safety Equipment,
Instruments, GPS, Charts, Books, Clothing, Stationery and
Airspace forum in Spain
has participated in the first meeting of a new forum designed
to improve co-operation between air navigation service
providers and airspace users in Spain.
forum, established in order to comply with the requirements of
the Single European Sky, brings the national air navigation
services operator AENA together with airports, airlines,
general and military aviation and other users. Its objective
is to create a clear channel of communication on airspace
issues – something that has been lacking in the past. The
first meeting, on December 18th, established the constitution
and ground rules of the forum.
Campi said the forum was a positive step forward, and a means
by which solutions to long-standing problems could be found.
Among the first topics on the agenda will be changes to the
Madrid TMA which have had severe consequences for GA.
AOPA-Spain is compiling a list of priority problems affecting
the GA sector for discussion in the forum during the new year.
The car you always promised
Still a few places left on
AOPA-Germany's Porsche junket this summer. Get your name down
quickly – there are only 40 places, and if you miss this one,
you'll always regret it. The group will visit the Porsche
factory in Leipzig from June 14th to 16th, and members will
drive a Porsche 911, Carrera or Boxster on a Formula 1 track
and a Cayenne on Porsche's off-road course, accompanied by a
professional driver. They also get the chance to fly Cirruses,
Columbias, Diamonds and Cessnas at Leipzig airport. Go on,
make that call – life's too short to pass up opportunities
like this. The package includes two nights in a first class
hotel, with food and drink, and costs 1375 euros. For details
email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone
to the robust European general aviation market
world is coming to Friedrichshafen...
A happy New Year to all
pilots from IAOPA-Europe
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