France to introduce eco-tax on all flights leaving the country

Andrew Cummings
July 9, 2019

France is set to introduce an "eco-tax" for all flights from French airports, the government has said.

The government announced earlier on Tuesday that it will introduce the eco-tax on airlines flying out of France, which is expected to raise around 180 million euros ($201.69 million) from 2020.

The new measure is expected to bring in some 182 million euros a year which will be invested in greener transport infrastructures, notably rail, she said.

She said the only exceptions from the tax will be for domestic flights to Corsica and France's overseas territories, and connecting flights that pass through France.

France announced Tuesday it would impose new taxes on plane tickets of up to 18 euros per flight, joining other European Union states seeking to limit the environmental impact of air travel.

The tax will vary depending on the length of the flight, its destination and on the class (economy or business). Borne also mentioned that the additional revenue generated from this tax will fund daily transportation throughout France.

"This new tax would significantly penalize Air France's competitiveness, at a time where the company needs to strengthen its investment capacity to more rapidly reduce its environmental footprint, notably as part of its fleet renewal policy", the airline said.

This will be spent on improving green transport within France.

Andrew Murphy, aviation expert with the NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) in Brussels which presses for cleaner transport, said that the tax was far from unique in Europe with similar measures in Britain, Germany, Norway, Italy, as well as Sweden. Transit flights will not be taxed.

Limousin said tax exemptions for jet plane kerosene fuel cost French taxpayers more than 3.7 billion euros per year.

"The government is finally targeting tax breaks for the most polluting industries such as trucking and airlines, but these modest measures will not significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions", said Climate Action Network's Lorelei Limousin. Borne called for an aviation tax at the European level at a June 6 European transport ministers council in Luxembourg, and later in June European ministers met in the Netherlands to discuss the possibility of a Europe-wide aviation tax.

French President Emmanuel Macron's government wants to tighten environmental regulation but had to abandon an attempt to increase tax on diesel fuel late a year ago following the "yellow vest" protest movement.

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