An EU-wide passenger tax would hit the mobility of the most “socially vulnerable” consumers, it is being claimed.
Advocacy group The Consumer Choice Center attacked proposals put forward by the Netherlands for €7 ticket tax.
EU ministers spent two days debating proposals for an environmental tax on aviation at a meeting last week.
They aim to present an aviation tax plan to the new European Commission this autumn.
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The goal is to curb flights in order to reduce carbon emissions.
Fred Roeder, managing director of the Consumer Choice Center, said: “Air travel has got considerably cheaper throughout the past decades. This has democratised transportation, to the extent that low-income consumers have nearly the same ability to travel abroad as middle-class or high-income earners.
“The Netherlands has suggested a new levy of €7 per passenger per flight segment in the European Union.
“This might not be a lot in some northern countries such as Sweden – which supports the proposal – but in central and eastern Europe, this would constitute a considerable price increase.”
He added: “Other models, such as taxing fuel, would also result in higher ticket prices.
“No matter if the EU ends up with taxing passengers directly or taxing them indirectly through taxes on jet fuel, it will hurt mobility for the most socially vulnerable Europeans.
“Island nations such as Malta, Cyprus, and parts of Spain and Greece will also be hurt significantly as both tourism and commerce will get more expensive.”
Roeder said: “There are environmental challenges to overcome, but they cannot be combated by simply telling consumers to stay home. New aircraft models with more efficient engines will become available in the coming years. Rushing policy decisions won’t get us anywhere.”
Iata says governments should be encouraging new technologies and sustainable aviation fuels to reduce aviation carbon emissions, rather than impose ‘environmental’ taxes.
But NGOs Transport & Environment (T&E) and Natuur & Milieu argue that discussing ways to tax aviation and address its climate impact is a long overdue and welcome development.
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