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ACI EUROPE condemns Belgian and Irish governments' decision to introduce air passenger taxes

Air Transport News 16 Oct.08

Source: ACI EUROPE 16/10/2008

This week’s move by the Belgian and Irish governments to introduce an air passenger tax has met with heavy criticism from ACI EUROPE, which counts the majority of Belgian and Irish airports among its substantial membership.

In the present economic and financial climate, aviation is at a particularly uncertain crossroads in its history. Compounding the onslaught of challenges at this time - fluctuating oil prices, credit-crunched passengers, falling demand - the Belgian and Irish governments have decided to resort to blunt taxation on all passengers flying from their airports in the hope of raising an unstudied calculation of EUR132million and EUR150million respectively. No impact studies have been carried out and no consultation has taken place with aviation stakeholders.

Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE said “This move by the Belgian and Irish governments should be seen for what it is: a significant contribution by aviation to the banking sector’s parachute. This is a very short-sighted policy, with serious implications. These days, airports are essential dynamos for regional and national economies and anything that hurts their competitive position has immediate repercussions on the communities they serve.”

He added: “At this very difficult time for our sector, these new departure taxes will impede the efforts of Belgian and Irish airports not only to attract more airlines and establish new routes, but also to retain existing traffic. This kind of action is the last thing we need, if we are serious about getting out of the present crisis.”

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