Sweden aviation recovery lags Scandinavian neighbours – tax rises don't help

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In its 2023 year-end report, the airport company Swedavia celebrated increased air travel, more routes and destinations, and improved passenger satisfaction in Sweden.

However, it added that "ensuring our competitiveness also requires action at national level". It called for a "review of the national policy instrument that is aviation tax, which directly reduces competitiveness and inhibits the vital climate transition of aviation".

Sweden's aviation taxes are rising by 9%-10% in 2024. This compares with less than 4% in Norway, and Denmark has yet to introduce taxes (planned from 2025). Sweden's 2018 introduction of passenger taxes heralded weaker passenger growth, and this year's increases seem to be weighing further on its aviation sector.

Schedules for 2024 show that capacity is not recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly in Sweden as in its Scandinavian neighbours, Denmark and Norway.

Ryanair, the biggest low cost operator in Sweden, is suspending domestic routes in response to increased taxes. This will reduce consumer choice and raise the average of available fares in the market.

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