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European airlines condemn Dutch ticket tax

AEA Pressrelease 15 Jun.07

The Association of European Airlines, representing Europe’s most important airlines, has condemned the Dutch Government’s proposal to levy a €25 tax on air passengers from the Netherlands. While the tax would be a simple revenue-generator for the exchequer, with an estimated revenue of €350 million annually, it is also presented as bringing environmental benefits, by reducing the impact of aviation on climate change.

“The Dutch Government believes that aviation is inadequately taxed in comparison to other transport modes”, said AEA Secretary General Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus. “What they fail to acknowledge is that aviation pays its own way. Roads and road traffic management are publicly funded. Railways are in receipt of massive public subsidy. We in the airlines pay for our airport infrastructure and our traffic management. We are – substantially – net contributors to public funds”.

“The environmental argument is based on a false premise”, continued Mr Schulte-Strathaus. “If the entire Dutch aviation sector were to close down, the impact on global CO2 emissions would be so small you could hardly measure it. But that is not what will happen; for every passenger who chooses not to fly, many more will use their cars and drive to Brussels, or Dusseldorf, or another nearby hub”.

The proposal, he said, illustrated the inefficiency with which fiscal measures addressed, or failed to address, the environmental challenge. If they were not to lose passengers to their international competitors, Dutch airlines would have to absorb the costs of the tax themselves, reducing their ability to invest in the fleet renewal and other technological advances which was where the real environmental benefits lay.

The Dutch hub carrier KLM has already undertaken to submit to a national emissions trading scheme based on agreed emissions targets. Such schemes allow airlines to manage their emissions through technical and operational strategies whilst contributing to achieve an overall emissions reduction target. Taxation does neither.

“If the Dutch Government really wants to benefit the environment”, said Mr Schulte-Strathaus, “it should throw its weight behind the creation of a Single European Sky. Currently, an inefficient air traffic management system obliges airlines to waste fuel in circuitous routings and holding patterns over congested airports, when a more efficient use of airspace would reduce up to 12% of current emissions".

“The Netherlands owes much of its prosperity and pre-eminence in the world to its trading tradition", he said. “It is frankly nonsensical for such a nation to weaken the competitiveness of a Dutch airline and erect barriers to trade."

For further information, please contact:

Françoise Humbert

General Manager Communications

Phone: +32(0) 2 639 89 93

Email: francoise.humbert@aea.be


Note to the Editor: The Association of European Airlines (AEA) brings together 31 European established service and scheduled network carriers. These collectively carry 320 million passengers and 6 million tons of cargo each year, operating 2,400 aircraft serving 620 destinations in 160 countries with 10,720 flights a day. They provide around 378,000 jobs directly, and generate a total turnover of €75 billion

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