The Dutch government has confirmed plans to introduce an air passenger tax from 2021 and begun a public consultation on its proposals.
That drew a sharp response from easyJet, which operates from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said this week: “It’s painted as an environmental tax, but with no benefit to the environment. We are against it. It is not the way forward.”
He added: “We are engaging with the [Dutch] government on this.”
The two-month online consultation, launched on July 5, explores several options including a tax on aircraft or departing passengers which would be similar to the UK’s Air Passenger Duty.
It proposes a per-passenger tax of €3.80 on flights within the EU and €22 on intercontinental flights, suggesting this would raise €200 million a year in revenue.
The Netherlands’ previous imposition of a tax on flying in 2008 is frequently held up as a classic example of the failure of such policies.
The Hague imposed an air departure tax in July 2008 at a rate of €11.25 on EU flights and €45 beyond.
It scrapped the tax a year later after studies suggested a substantial amount of air traffic switched from Schiphol to Brussels or over the border to Germany.
However, imposition of the tax also coincided with the global financial crash and recession which a study by the Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy acknowledged complicated assessment of the impact.
In a statement, the Dutch government said it aims “to green the taxes and make the aviation sector more sustainable”. Ministers have suggested revenue from the tax could be used to cut other taxes.
The consultation is in line with a commitment to introduce a tax on aviation in the coalition agreement to form the government last October.
The government intends to draw up a bill to introduce the tax this autumn.
It argues the tax would have a “limited” effect on the Dutch economy as capacity restrictions at Amsterdam Schiphol mean “airlines will be able to raise prices and make extra profit. They can use this extra profit to pay the tax.”
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