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France to impose green tax on all outbound flights

July 9, 2019

All tickets for outbound flights from French airports will include a green tax from 2020. It is expected to raise €180 million a year, which will pay for more environmentally friendly means of transportation.

Air France Airbus A319
Image: Reuters/Charles Platiau

France will introduce an eco-tax of up to €18 ($20) on all tickets for flights flying out of French airports to fund less-polluting transportation projects, Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Tuesday.

The tax, estimated to raise around €180 million a year, will come into effect in 2020 and calls for a fee of €1.50 on economy-class tickets for domestic flights and those within Europe. The highest tariff of €18 per ticket will be applied to business-class travelers flying outside the bloc, Borne said.

It will only be applied on outgoing flights and not those flying into the country, Borne said.

Read more: How to get from Europe to Australia without flying

Airline shares fall

Shares of Air France and Lufthansa extended losses and were down 4.5% and 2.5%, respectively, immediately following the announcement.

French carrier Air France said it opposed the planned eco-tax, saying it would cost the company €60 million per year.

A similar tax was introduced in Sweden in April 2018, which imposed an added charge of up to €40 on every ticket in a bid to lessen the impact of air travel on the climate. 

In Germany, a green tax of flights adds €8 to tickets with domestic, EU or North African destinations. Tickets for flights to destinations up to 6,000 kilometers (3,730 miles) away have an extra charge of €25; that charge goes up to €45 for tickets to destinations more than 6,000 kilometers away.

French President Emmanuel Macron's government has wanted to tighten environmental regulation, but had to abandon an attempted tax increase on diesel fuel late last year following the "yellow vest" protest movement.

France wants the new European Union Commission to push for an end to global tax exemptions for jet fuel, in order to reduce carbon emissions, and has teamed up with the Netherlands to try and convince fellow European nations to tax airline travel more.

Read more: When will flying turn green?

Playing at plane travel

law/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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