ICAO'S Policies on Environmental Levies

​ICAO has been addressing the application of economic instruments to reduce or eliminate the adverse environmental consequences of civil aviation for many years. Initially, attention was focussed on aircraft noise, which led to the development in 1981 of a specific ICAO policy on noise-related charges (expressed in ICAO's Policies on Charges for Airports and Air Navigation Services - Doc 9082). Subsequently, concerns centred on aircraft engine emissions. The Council noted that although some aspects of existing ICAO policies on charges and taxes are relevant, neither emission-related charges nor emission-related taxes are specifically identified, and that it was desirable to have ICAO's position on this complex subject recorded in a single concise text, notably to make ICAO's position clear to other international policy-making bodies.
In a Resolution adopted on 9 December 1996 the ICAO Council strongly recommended that any environmental levies on air transport, which States may want to introduce, should be in the form of charges rather than taxes and that the funds collected should be applied in the first instance to mitigating the environmental impact of aircraft engine emissions (i.e. by repairing specific damages, and by funding research on development of technology). It also recalled that in application of ICAO principle expressed in Article 15 of the Chicago Convention and in accordance with the guidance provided in the Council Statements:
    • there should be no fiscal aim behind the charges;
    • the charges should be related to costs; and
    • the charges should not discriminate against air transport compared with other modes of transport.


The 35th Session of the ICAO Assembly (September/October 2004), through Appendix I of Resolution A35-5 (PDF) on the consolidated statement of ICAO policies and practices related to environmental protection, requested the Council to continue to develop guidance for Contracting States on the application of market-based measures and to evaluate the costs and benefits of the various measures, including existing measures, with the goal of addressing aircraft engine emissions in the most cost-effective manner. In this respect, ICAO issued in 2007 Guidance on Aircraft Emissions Charges Related to Local Air Quality (Doc 9884), and a new paragraph on Emissions-related aircraft charges to address local air quality problems at or around airports has been included in Doc 9082.
In addition, the 37th Session of the Assembly adopted Resolution A37-18 which constitutes the consolidated statement of continuing ICAO policies and practices related to environmental protection – general provisions, noise and local air quality, including Appendix H on aviation impact on local air quality, which contains provisions on environmental charges and taxes. Further information on ICAO policy on environmental levies is provided in the Environmental Protection website.


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