Published on October 13th, 2022 | by Mark Dwyer


Sinn Féin Senator Proposes Taxes for Private Aviation

Speaking in the Seanad last week, Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan proposed a luxury tax of €3,000 on the departure of private jets from the State. “Sinn Féin believes luxury emissions need to be pursued, not only because it is the right thing to do to tackle climate change, but because it demonstrates to wider society that we are serious about a just transition. It would also help to bring people along in the enormous challenge for society of tackling climate change. Sinn Féin proposes a tax of €3,000 on the departure of private jets from this State should be introduced. Canada has recently imposed a luxury tax on the sale and importation of high-value cars, planes and boats, while Switzerland has proposed taxing private-jet flights.”

On the face of it, this proposal would appear to affect a very small number of wealthy individuals, however, when you dig down into what is being proposed it has the potential to affect all non-commercial operations including private and training flights. In particular, the Senator refers to a recently introduced tax on aircraft in Canada. This tax is levied on aircraft sales over CAD $100,000 (€75,000). A 40-year-old Cessna 172 is likely to cost over this amount in the current market never mind the latest new technology training aircraft required to deliver airline standard training.

In the Swiss example, levies are imposed on private jets over 5700kg MTOM and range from CHF 500 to CHF 3,000 (€510 – €3,090). However several exemptions apply to this tax including:

  • Emergency medical service flights
  • Military flights
  • Flights operated under a public service obligation
  • Flights of aircraft with an MTOM < 5,700 Kg
  • Training flights
  • Cargo flights
  • Aerial work flights
  • Flights subject to Swiss Mineral Oil Tax or Ticket Tax

Senator Boylan went on to say later that “Of course the Sinn Féin proposal would allow for exemptions for emergency medical service and military flights” without specifying that any other exemptions would be considered.

In response, Minister of State at the Department of Finance Deputy Sean Fleming said: “that neither the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, nor the Minister for Transport, Deputy Eamon Ryan, have given consideration of a levy on private jet departures to date.” He went on to say “With regard to aviation fuel for commercial international transport, the scope for a member state to take a unilateral approach on taxation on aviation fuel is limited not only by the ETD but by international law and a range of bilateral and multilateral agreements that operate under the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention.”

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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