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AEA sounds off on Dutch tax proposal

ATW Daily News 2 Oct. 07

Assn. of European Airlines once again condemned the Dutch government's decision to impose a travel tax on passengers departing from the country's airports from July 1, 2008. The new duty is, according to the Finance Ministry, "part of a 'greening' of taxation" with a shift from taxes on labor and profits to environmental pollution. But revenue from what AEA called a "money-raising measure masquerading as an environmental tax" will not be used for environmental purposes or for infrastructure that could reduce aviation's environmental impact, the organization claimed.

"The next big leap forward in environmental performance should come from the rationalization of European airspace--the Single Sky project--which would eliminate wasteful and inefficient flight routings. This new tax will contribute nothing to that process," AEA Secretary General Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus blasted. "What it will do is to persuade Dutch travelers to jump in their cars and drive to airports in nearby countries, where passengers are not discriminated against in this way." Last month, easyJet CEO Andy Harrison confirmed to ATWOnline that the LCC might move a "big part" of its traffic from Amsterdam to Brussels if the tax is introduced (ATWOnline, Sept. 19). AMS is one the carrier's larger bases with 11 destinations.

The ticket tax will be 11.25 ($16.05) per segment for intra-EU flights or flights up to 2,500 km. and 45 for longer journeys. Transfer passengers are excluded from the tax measure, as are commercial cargo flights. The Board of Airline Representatives in the Netherlands fears that the tax will jeopardize some 12,000 jobs in the aviation industry alone. The Dutch parliament is due to debate the levy in mid-November.

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