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DEN HAGUE: June 25, 2019. The Dutch coalition government wants to introduce a tax on passenger and cargo flights from January 01, 2021 to make aviation “greener and more sustainable”. A Bill currently under review by the House of Representatives could produce annual revenues of €200 million.

If passed into law, the tax for all-cargo aircraft from 2021 would depend on their noise levels. The noisiest planes would pay €3.85 per tonne and the quietest a rate of €1.925 per tonne. According to the proposal, the tax would be based on the overall weight of the aircraft, so cargo in the bellyhold of a passenger aircraft could also be subject to tax.

While it says it would prefer a European-wide tax on aviation, the Dutch government is making a unilateral move with a €7.0 tax per departing passenger with an exemption for transit passengers.

Schiphol AMS“Unlike travel by car, bus or train, international flights from the Netherlands are not in any way taxed by the Dutch government,” said state secretary for Finance Menno Snel. “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 proposal includes measures to prevent a potential negative impact on Schiphol’s role as a hub and on its international network of connections. The bill is part of efforts by the Dutch government to charge consumers and businesses for environmentally polluting behaviour.

In July 2008 it implemented an air passenger tax in a bid to make air transport pay for its CO2 emissions. The rate was €11.25 for departing passengers to European destinations and €45 for long-haul passengers. The tax was abolished in January 2010.

In response to the new proposal, IATA says its research shows that air passengers want governments to encourage the development of new technologies and sustainable aviation fuels to reduce aviation carbon emissions, rather than impose what it says are “ineffective environmental taxes”.

“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,” declared IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

IATA says when it asked the question: “Do you trust governments to spend money from environment taxes specifically on environmental protection programmes?” the replies from various European countries were:

                            Trust                        Don't Trust
France                 16%                         81%
Germany              29%                        66%
Netherlands         40%                        53%
Spain                   24%                        73%
UK                       27%                        66%

“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,” claimed de Juniac – who was chairman and CEO of Air France-KLM between 2013-2016.

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