France plans green tax on airline flight departures

The French government is to introduce an ‘eco-tax’ on all outgoing flights from French airports, which is expected to bring in €180m (£162m) from 2020, to encourage a more environmentally-friendly approach to travel

Transport minister Elisabeth Borne said the money raised will be invested in greener forms of transport such as rail.

The amount of tax paid will depend on the type of ticket, starting at €1.50 on economy-class tickets and €9.00 on business class ones for all domestic flights and those remaining inside Europe. Those flying out of the EU from France will pay €3.00 in tax for economy-class, and €18 in business class. 

All airlines will be affected. Connecting flights will not be taxed, nor will those to France's Mediterranean island of Corsica and its overseas departments and territories, Borne said.

The  decision to create the new tax was made by France’s ecological defence council, created by President Emmanuel Macron in the wake of the ‘gilets jaunes’ or yellow vest revolt, to demonstrate a continuing commitment to addressing environmental concerns. 

It has been criticised by the national airline, Air France, which notes that it operates 50% of its flights from France and is likely to be responsible for around €60m of the tax collected.

In a statement the company said: ‘This new tax would significantly penalise 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.’

By Pat Sweet 

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