The Spanish government resurrects an earlier intention to levy a green tax on airline tickets. It is not yet known what the amount will be. However, according to sources around PSOE, €42 was considered for long-haul flights last year.
In March 2019, Spain presented the first proposal to tax flying. This would make it more expensive and thus encourage travellers to choose more environmentally friendly alternatives. At that time, the government was already strongly criticised by the tourism sector. However, with the arrival of the corona virus, the plan disappeared back into the drawer. Remarkably, the Spanish government now seems to think it is the right time to introduce this air passenger tax.
The government is doing this in the context of the Recovery Plan. It sent a proposal for the tax policy to be pursued to the European Commission last Friday. “The purpose of this tax is on the one hand to stimulate the use of more environmentally friendly means of transport and on the other hand, to give an impetus to the development of new, less polluting technologies,” the report to the EU states.
Air passenger tax in other EU states
In March last year, the Spanish government held a public consultation on the introduction of the air passenger tax. At the time, airlines and the catering industry strongly objected to this measure; that was before the advent of the corona pandemic. However, Spain subsequently announced other EU Member States would introduce the same measure. These included the Netherlands, Austria, Norway, Germany, France, Sweden and Italy. In the Netherlands, passengers departing from a Dutch airport have to pay €7.41 in air passenger tax from 1st January this year.
5% less CO emissions with air passenger tax
Although it is not known how high the green tax from Spanish airports will be, proposals were made in March last year. At that time amounts were mentioned of €4.47 for short flights, €23.32 for medium-haul flights and €41.99 euros for all long-haul flights. That would reduce CO2 emissions by 5% and yield the Spanish treasury €1.3billion annually.
Road traffic also taxed
In the face of criticism of the air passenger tax, the Ministry of Finance defends the plan as an important measure to combat climate change and stimulate the sustainable energy transition. In the document sent to the European Commission, the Spanish government also promises to levy tax on the use of the Spanish road network. Other than this road tax will not come into effect before 2024, further details have not been disclosed.