Germany May Pass Environmental Tax on Air Travel
On Thursday, July 15th, the Associated Press obtained a draft of a bill, proposed last month, that would create a tax on air travel from Germany. This tax is designed to force German airlines to raise the cost of plane tickets, thereby encouraging travelers to use more environmentally forms of transportation, such as trains. While the tax is waived for passengers on domestic flights, those flying internationally would have to pay 13 euros for flights up to 1,553 miles, and 26 euros for air travel in excess of this distance. Beginning in 2011, the tax could generate up to 1 billion euros annually.
The air travel industry in Germany is outraged over the tax, which is essentially designed to discourage passengers from using their services. It would likely be added onto ticket prices, making air travel far more costly for passengers. A spokesman for Germany's largest airline, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, claims that the tax on air travel will mean "exporting German jobs and weakening Germany as a place to do business."
The European Union has a collective goal of reducing total carbon emissions by 20% over 1990 levels by 2020. The proposed eco-tax is part of a push by Great Britain, France, and Germany to increase this goal to 30%.