Germany to tax up to 26 euros on air travel – UK to follow?

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Courtesy of Vital Efficienci Ltd.

The tax on air travel could generate up to 1 billion euros annually in 2011. Germany plans to tax air travel up to 26 euros for each passenger on flights under a plan aimed to encourage more environmentally friendly travel and bolstering government finances. The tax on air travel, called an 'incentive for environmentally friendly behaviour,' could generate 1 billion euros annually beginning in 2011.

Airlines will have to pay 13 euros per passenger on flights of up to 1,553 miles (2,500 kilometers) — which includes the whole European Union — and 26 euros for longer-haul flights taking off in Germany. Passengers only transiting Germany and children under age 2 will be excluded.

The tax on air travel is aimed at encouraging people to prefer other, more environmental friendly methods of transportation, such as trains, where possible. Its bill says that it aims to provide 'incentives for environmentally friendly behavior' and once air traffic is included in a wider carbon trading scheme, the tax may be lowered.

The travel industry is howling in protest at a report today from the Associated Press. Deutsche Lufthansa AG Spokesman Peter Schneckenleitner told the AP that he is strictly opposed to the tax on air travel. He added that 'The air traffic tax means exporting German jobs and weakening Germany as a place to do business.'

The tax on air travel contributes to the goal to increase carbon emission targets to 30% in 2020

It isn’t the first time European governments have sought to cut carbon emissions by targeting air travel behavior. In the UK, travel-related carbon emissions were cited as one reason why the government scrapped plans to build a third runway at busy Heathrow airport. There will also be no additional runways built at alternatives Stansted and Gatwick airports.

The UK has a goal of reducing its carbon emissions 34% below 1990 levels by 2020. The European Union's collective 2020 goal calls for members to reduce total carbon emissions by 20% below 1990 levels, with the possibility of raising this to 30% if other countries adopt more stringent targets. The UK, France and Germany are pushing to increase the 2020 target to 30% in order to spark more low carbon investment.

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