Published: Wed, July 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

France's eco-tax on flights criticised by airlines and activists

France's eco-tax on flights criticised by airlines and activists

The French government will implement an "ecotax" on plane tickets for flights departing from France from next year, the government said Tuesday July 9, 2019.

It is estimated the new tax will generate nearly 202 million dollars in revenue.

The new tax may cost Australians up to $29 extra on their plane ticket.

France also hopes to push for an end to global tax exemptions on jet fuel to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions.

Places like Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium failed in their attempts due to political opposition.

The only exceptions will be for domestic flights to Corsica, a mountainous Mediterranean island part of France, and France's overseas territories, and connecting flights that pass through France.

There will be no tax on transit flights. Reuters says it will be a mere 1.5 euros for flights within France or the European Union, 3 euros for economy flights out of the EU, 9 euros for business class flights within the EU, and up to 18 euros for business class tickets out of the EU.

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The new levy is expected to bring €182 million into state coffers starting next year with the funds earmarked for greener transport infrastructure projects, notably rail, said the minister.

Air France and Lufthansa fell 4.5% and 2.5%, respectively, as soon as the news from Paris was announced.

"The sector is under considerable pressure", Alexandre de Juniac, the chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), admitted at a meeting of the industry body in June.

Andrew Murphy, aviation expert with the NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) in Brussels which presses for cleaner transport, said that the tax was far from unique in Europe with similar measures in Britain, Germany, Norway, Italy, as well as Sweden.

Industry group IATA, which favors a system that allows airlines to offset their emissions by paying for carbon reduction efforts elsewhere, called the French ticket charge "misguided".

Germany's Environment Ministry said Tuesday it supports discussions on additional CO2-based pricing systems for air travel to reduce the industry's contribution to man-made greenhouse gas emissions, now estimated at more than 2% but forecast to grow significantly in coming decades.

French President Emmanuel Macron's government has said it wants to put the environment at the centre of its policies.

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