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The End Of Cheap Flights

April 18, 2023

By Paul Homewood

Would somebody like to tell me when anybody actually voted for any of this?


Jetting off to the Mediterranean this summer? I hope you got a good deal, because cheap flights are becoming increasingly hard to find.

You probably had an inkling that the era of absurdly cheap short-haul flights in Europe was coming to an end. After all, according to travel search engine Kayak, summer flights between the UK and the continent are currently one-third more expensive than last year. But two new reports make it clear that this isn’t just temporary turbulence.

It’s the new reality for flying as airlines face a huge decarbonization challenge and tightening climate-compliance laws.

The first headwind stems from two big changes in the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). Airlines must have enough emissions allowances to cover every metric ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere on flights starting and ending in the European Economic Area, the UK and Switzerland. Right now, they get about half of those allowances for free. But that deal comes to an end in 2026, as the share of allowances they have to pay for starts to rise from 2024. That is effectively going to double their carbon costs over just three years.

The unit price of carbon emissions has also soared recently, topping €100 ($111) for the first time in late February, and it doesn’t seem to be on its way back down. A report by Alex Irving, European transport analyst at Bernstein, puts the resulting cost from these changes for European airlines at about €5 billion in 2027.

That’s just the thin end of the wedge. Over the next three decades, aviation has to transform itself from a polluting industry — planes are responsible for 2.5% of global CO2 emissions — to a net-zero one. Under Destination 2050, the European sector’s plan to reduce emissions, it’ll do that by investing in future aircraft and infrastructure, making operations more efficient, and using alternative fuels and carbon-removal technologies.

A report by research groups SEO Amsterdam Economics and the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre, commissioned by airline industry bodies, has put the cost of reaching net zero by 2050 at a whopping €820 billion.

Both reports conclude the sector won’t be able to absorb these costs itself. The changes to the EU ETS alone will slash the operating profit of the continent’s six largest point-to-point airlines (Ryanair Holdings Plc, EasyJet Plc, Wizz Air Holdings Plc, Vueling, Eurowings and Transavia) by an estimated 77%. That means ticket prices will have to be higher, which in turn means that demand destruction is inevitable. As Irving writes: “If it were possible to charge more without spoiling demand, airlines would have already been doing so.”

Demand growth is a touchy subject for airlines, as a recent battle over proposed flight caps between the Dutch government and Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport illustrates. The forecasts are strong: The International Air Transport Association suggested that passenger numbers would nearly double to just under 8 billion by 2040 from 2017 levels. Time will tell if rising ticket prices dampen that, but the question remains whether growth is even compatible with ambitions for carbon-neutrality.

The answer might be hard to swallow. Decarbonizing flying is hard enough without the extra passengers. A briefing from the Royal Society, for example, outlined that even meeting existing UK aviation demand with biofuels would require about half of the country’s agricultural land.

Fewer flights is, naturally, the easiest way to slice carbon emissions, and so a demand drop would come with its own climate benefits. The aviation industry’s report calculates that, in 2050, the drop in demand from raising prices to pay for sustainable airplane fuel would reduce emissions by 12%, and economic measures — such as emissions-trading obligations and CO2 removal investments — would lead to a further 2% reduction, compared with a business-as-usual scenario.

  1. William George permalink
    April 18, 2023 9:05 pm

    There appears to be no end to the politics of interference in our lives.

    • April 19, 2023 6:20 pm

      There seems to be no end of utter stupidity and ignorance interfering with our lives.

  2. April 18, 2023 9:25 pm

    No one voted for it. It is a ruinous scam
    It goes on, now perpetuated by climate gravy train politicos, passengers and duped, gullible voters.
    All based on ignorance, lies and corruption.
    Out East, the authorities very sensibly ignore it.
    That helps their industries, homes and resources.
    We are ruining ourselves, to no useful purpose.

    • April 19, 2023 6:28 pm

      No amount of providing rational argument & evidence for ‘climate change’ being false, and asking for the evidence ‘for’, my MP (Cons) has never provided any, but continually peddles the political mantra (same with covid 😡). The latest assessment of climate models ( exposes the scan even further, but will MPs take any notice, or just continue to have their fingers in their ears whilst loudly singing “la la la” to drown out truth.

  3. April 18, 2023 9:40 pm

    These pathetic “actors” behave like 5th columnists.
    I am sure they begin each of these new twists of the knife with a specific reference to the statistically significant empirical data set(s) which support the claim that CO2 returned to the Carbon Cycle (from which it was anomalously removed and locked away) by the actions of man can in a measurable way be shown to be directly responsible for all or part of the current welcome warming, the fourth such warming in recent human history (albeit not as warm as the two previous warms).
    If they cannot supply that data based evidence then none of this can be claimed to be based on science because it is only science when supported by data. Given that no such data exists, I points to another and darker political cause. Strange every person who calls themselves a scientist is not pointing out this elephant in their climate temple.
    Just repeating asinine claims over and over again and supergluing yourself
    (with hydrocarbon originating glue) to things does not make the “beliefs” of the climate religion bed wetters into science.

  4. Gray permalink
    April 18, 2023 9:47 pm

    Does nobody in government find it interesting that most people want to take their holidays somewhere in the world that’s warmer than the UK ?

  5. Harry Passfield permalink
    April 18, 2023 9:48 pm

    I checked. It’s called, hegemony: leadership or dominance, especially by one state or social group over others.
    I don’t think voting gets a look-in. The useful idiots have taken over. I didn’t vote for any party that was in favour of, for instance, ULEZs, LTNs, banning ICEs and gas boilers, or loading our taxes with pointless green tariffs. All I am convinced of is that there will be a reckoning and it won’t be pleasant.

    • Crowcatcher permalink
      April 19, 2023 6:19 am

      Hear, hear!
      In the last election, in my constituency, not one of four candidates was worth voting for – “rude” message on ballot paper!!

    • gezza1298 permalink
      April 19, 2023 11:31 am

      War is the pursuit of politics by other means so if the elections are rigged against us we have no alternative. Interesting that our next election could be the same month as the US presidential one although Sushi could go for October.

  6. Kelland Hutchence permalink
    April 18, 2023 9:58 pm

    This is merely a variation of the Great Reset stated policy of ‘You will own nothing – you will be happy!’ So now we have, in addition ‘You will go nowhere – you will be happy!’

    • April 18, 2023 11:02 pm

      Yes. The underlying necessity when you realize 8 billion people cannot live a CURRENT 1st World lifestyle is to degrade that lifestyle. Like no meat and eat bugs.

  7. Nigel Sherratt permalink
    April 18, 2023 10:33 pm

    Well we clicked on to the website and were mightily surprised,
    To find the actual cost wasn’t quite as advertised,
    We’d forgotten airport taxes, had also to be billed, …

    (The inimitable Fascinating Aïda of course)

  8. Rowland P permalink
    April 18, 2023 10:39 pm

    We are victims of the LibLabCon trick and the only way to combat it is to support any of the presently minority parties. Personally, my support goes to the Heritage Party which totally eschews the climate change narrative and has no truck with the Covid nonsense or the drive towards world government led by the WEF and the WHO etc.

    • gezza1298 permalink
      April 19, 2023 11:46 am

      I saw the Heritage Party guy on GB News yesterday evening where a leftie speccie git kept on interrupting him. Shame on Michelle Dewbury for not telling him the shut the f*ck up.

  9. Gamecock permalink
    April 19, 2023 12:01 am

    As the EU economy contracts, there will be less flying.

    Well, duh.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world will go on. Wondering, “What the hell is wrong with Europe?”

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      April 19, 2023 9:34 am

      Vast swathes of the economy in Europe depend on flying – all the Greek and Spanish islands, much of France and mainland Spain, all the mountainous areas. My partner had a client in Norway and going from a major city in France to Stavanger by train would take 3 days. So unless there’s a vast, vast increase in railway infrastructure, places like Norway will be cut off from Europe with no flying. I have no doubt the idiots in charge think they will just give all these people money, but as the economy contracts there will be less money for existing public services. And the young will decamp, as they did from these places pre-flying. The EU is destroying much of its member states.

      • gezza1298 permalink
        April 19, 2023 11:51 am

        There are no ferries from the UK to Norway, or Denmark, or Germany. So by road you have to go from the Netherlands.

      • Gamecock permalink
        April 19, 2023 1:15 pm

        “So unless there’s a vast, vast increase in railway infrastructure”

        “All aboard! Next stop: 19th Century.”

      • Bill Francis permalink
        April 23, 2023 5:17 pm

        That’s the idea. Destroy society and the economy by ridiculous, illogical fairytale concoctions promoted by politicians and the media as ‘science’. This is how the WEF is carrying out its ‘great reset’. The problem is that to ‘build back better’, you have to have something to build from, plus the skill and the infrastructure. They didn’t quite get that far in their planning. So the longer this nonsense continues, prepare for the new stone age!

  10. Curious George permalink
    April 19, 2023 12:59 am

    If God wanted you serfs to fly, He would have given you wings.

  11. Phoenix44 permalink
    April 19, 2023 9:25 am

    The simple fact that demand continues to grow shows that we voted for more and cheaper flights, not the opposite. Believing that somehow we want to not do what we clearly do want to do is madness.

  12. Carnot permalink
    April 19, 2023 10:01 am

    I am more interested in how this net zero is supposedley to be acheived and as a ever the devil is in the detail. At the moment the only “viable route” to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is via the hydrogenation of vegetable oils (HVO). Essentially that means soya, palm and rape which dominate the 200 million tonne supply of global vegetable oils. Add in about 10 million tones of recycled oil, much of it fake, and that is it. The UK alone uses about 14 million tonnes of jet kerosine per year, about as much as gasoline, so this is going to be a major challenge. Worse still is the limit on how much HVO will be allowed to be blended into SAF. So the geniuses developing the policy have mandated the use of e-fuels. A technology that has not even been invented yet. This is cellulosic ethanol all over again. The main concept for e-fuels is to recycle the carbon dioxide from combustion and reduce it with hydrogen to produce syn-gas which using Fischer Tropsch synthesis can produce jet fuel. That is the theory. The carbon dioxide could come from a point source, but that is not truly circular so the use of direct air capture (DAC) is the primary source of carbon dioxide. DAC can only have been dreamt up by the fairies. At 400 ppm ( and supposedly declining) it does not take much brain power to work out that you will need a massive structure and a lot of energy to recover 0.04 % carbon dioxide from the air – about 0.4 litre per 1000 litres. I have no idea what those clowns were smoking when they dreamt up this nonsense. So by 2050 the world airlines are supposedly going to be net -zero, at least in the NA and the EU. You can bet the ROW of the world will think differently. The stupidity of the politicians and academia has no bounds as we have seen with the climate change fiasco. As far as I am concerned thermodynamics study should be compulsory for politicians. Finally I am concerned about the future continued growth in oil demand which shows no sign of slowing. China is now the biggest oil importer and if US shale peaks, and it looks like it will, then brace yourselves. Only the 2 counties in the Permian Basin have Tier 1 resources remaining.

  13. Realist permalink
    April 19, 2023 12:05 pm

    No one voted for any of the “green”, “climate”, “carbon”, “CO2” hysterics or ANY of the attacks on transport, whether road, sea or air.
    As for air travel, look at the breakdown of the actual costs of the ticket and all the taxes that get added to it. Those taxes, particularly in Europe, are a disgrace.

  14. Stephen Utting permalink
    April 19, 2023 12:58 pm

    Fit this into the current attempt to begin 15 minute cities and other restrictions on personal transport, and an agenda starts to assert itself doesn’t it? WEF population control? And all the ULEZ zones with cameras which can track you everywhere. Conspiracy?

  15. April 20, 2023 12:18 am

    sure. and $85/barrel price of oil has nothing to do with this.

  16. Bill Francis permalink
    April 23, 2023 5:35 pm

    Climate Change is a religion – a pagan religion. It is not a science. We laugh at all those primitive cultures that sacrificed animals and humans to placate their gods, but that is exactly what the adherents of the church of climate change are doing. They are praying to the great carbon god to ‘restore’ the Earth, and are sacrificing lesser human beings by reducing the food supply and the availability of food, cutting energy, reducing freedom of movement, and controlling as many facets of life as possible. And then they are killing humans directly, injuring millions, and reducing fertility by the covid vaccine. All for the sake of money.

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