IATA responds to Dutch plans for green tax on air cargo and passengers

By Damian Brett

IATA has published research claiming that people would rather see investment in green aviation technology than “environmental taxes” following the Dutch government announcing plans for a new tax on air cargo and air travel.

The Dutch government has submitted proposals to introduce a charge of €3.85 per tonne of cargo for noisier planes and €1.925 per tonne of cargo on quieter aircraft from January 1, 2021. Passengers will be charged at a rate of €7 per departure.

At present, six European countries have a passenger tax on international flights but only France has a tax on airfreight, at an average rate of €1.33 per tonne.

The Dutch government said it would prefer the introduction of a European-wide tax on aviation but insufficient progress is being made.

State secretary for finance Menno Snel said: “Unlike travel by car, bus or train, international flights from the Netherlands are not in any way taxed by the Dutch government. This is a key reason for introducing a flight tax. It will also help close the price gap between plane tickets and, for example, train tickets. Many of our neighbours already have a flight tax, so it’s our priority to seek cooperation at European level.”

The bill is part of efforts by the Dutch government to charge consumers and businesses for environmentally polluting behaviour.

In response, Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and chief executive, said: “Aviation takes the climate change challenge very seriously. For more than a decade we have set and exceeded tough targets for carbon emissions, and we plan to achieve much more. Public opinion has a clear message to governments: work with aviation to encourage investment in clean fuels, and new hybrid and electric technology. This will help airlines cut emissions in half by 2050.”

Commercial aviation is responsible for around 2% of annual global carbon emissions. The aviation industry has a target to cap CO2 through carbon-neutral growth from 2020, and to cut emissions in half by 2050, compared to a 2005 benchmark.

IATA said that the public “has little faith in government’s spending environmental taxes on environmental action”.

“When asked ‘do you trust governments to spend money from environment taxes specifically on environmental protection programmes?’ the survey results were uniformly skeptical across several key EU markets,” the airline organisation said.

            Trust don’t trust
France 16% 81%
Germany ​29% 66%
Netherlands ​40% ​53%
Spain ​24% 73%
UK ​27% ​66%

Said de Juniac: “The research shows that the public’s feelings are very clear. People want to travel. They value the freedom to fly. And they want to see the industry and governments taking action on emissions. Making it more expensive for people to fly is not the answer.

“Rather, action to encourage new technology and sustainable fuels is the solution. Airlines are taking bold steps to cut emissions. Sensible governments should take practical measures to help, not hinder investment through weakening the industry and trying to make flying a preserve of the rich.” 


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