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US airlines fight 'cash-grab' ticket tax
Photo: DPA

US airlines fight 'cash-grab' ticket tax

Published: 23 Mar 2012 16:22 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Mar 2012 16:22 GMT+01:00

American airlines have launched a legal bid to strike out a tax which adds up to €45 onto every transatlantic plane ticket leaving German soil.

Airline trade organisation Airlines for America (A4A), which includes companies like Delta, United and Continental, filed a complaint on Friday.

In a statement, the group called the tax “a short-sighted cash-grab that will do more harm to the German economy than any short-term benefit that the tax revenue may bring the country’s coffers.”

The challenge was filed at Hesse’s state fiscal court in Kassel, taking issue with the German Air Transport Tax which took effect last January and put airlines serving the US into the highest of three tax brackets.

Until recently A4A, whose members operate 90 percent of American passenger and cargo flights, accepted the tax under protest.

But in a statement released on Friday, it said the decision was taken to make a challenge after legal advice suggested the tax violated several long-standing international agreements, including the US-EU Open Skies Agreement.

A4A feel that passengers coming from the US to Germany already pay enough taxes, the statement said.

“Germany cannot arbitrarily close its budget gap on the backs of the U.S. airlines,” it said.

The organisation announced in the statement that they would be filing a detailed complaint with the German Fiscal Court within the next two months at the same time it urges a referral of the case to the German Federal Constitution Court.

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Your comments about this article

03:42 March 24, 2012 by mos101392
Typical german greed! Take whatever you can, when you can. We need to reciprocate and add a similar tax to all german aircraft landing and taking off from the USA. In addition, this information needs to be mentioned on all major American networks and social media. Maybe, after hearing about the tax, less Americans will visit Germany and not contribute their vacation dollars to the german economy!!!!
09:31 March 24, 2012 by vanGaal
@mos: if this is "typical German greed", then let's talk about the lately installed entrance fee to the U.S. that EVERY tourist has to pay (not just the ones who come by plane), let's talk about punitive tariffs for foreign tires (35%). I understand, that the tariffs are created for the protection of the U.S. car industry and therefore have a valid purpose (at least from an American point of view) - maybe you could try to understand that the intention for the airplane fees is to reduce CO2 (a valid purpose at least for a typical German soul).

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to defend this policy, but I'm trying to show that this is not typical German (which BTW sounds like a very racist comment) and that before you point with your finger at somebody else, you might want to look at your own mess!
10:20 March 24, 2012 by The-ex-pat
Any tax that is linked to the use of transport and the environment says one thing and one thing only. It says, people, as long as you can afford to pay, you can carry on doing the damage. That is the be all and end all. If any government around the world wanted to really make a difference and not just bolster the coffers they would do things about it however, that would only get them voted out at the next election. For example, who needs a 4X4 when they live in the town. In fact, who really needs a gas guzzling 4X4 at all out side of farmers, the emergency services and, maybe the odd vet or two. They seem to be a must have when you have to navigate around an abandoned shopping trolley in the local supermarket car park. Also the percentage that actually go off road, around 5%. A blanket ban on 4X4 ownership would be a good start, but can you ever see that happening. Of course not, so as long as you can pay, you can carry on damaging. This covers just about every form of transport to a degree.

4X4 was just an example that came to mind and the truth of the matter is, I live in a town and at this time am looking for an BMW X5 to replace my 530 Tourer...........I can ironically afford the tax..............

As for the aviation question, I am a licensed aircraft engineer and I do not want to be looking for another job thank you very much......................................
12:55 March 24, 2012 by ovalle3.14
"German greed". Right. I am a Latin American citizen. As such, I am forced to pay $130 to apply for a visa (obviously the payment does not mean in any way that it will actually obtain said document). This sort of payment does not exist for me to enter Germany. Yeah, blame the Germans.
15:30 March 24, 2012 by pelliot
No doubt mos101392 is an American, republican, voted for GW Bush twice and gets all of his information from Fox News.

To be fair, I might be wrong on the voting for GW Bush since voting requires the ability to read a ballot. Something that is likely much too complicated for mos101392.
17:18 March 24, 2012 by Navigator_B
"A4A feel that passengers coming from the US to Germany already pay enough taxes, the statement said."

One major component of air travel that they do not pay tax on in any way is aircraft fuel, which is exempt from tax under the 1944 Chicago convention. It would be better for governments to agree to scrap this exemption because a fuel tax would encourage more efficient aircraft, unlike the flat tax that is now being charged.
17:38 March 24, 2012 by rwk
This tax is rubbing salt in the wound for the abused traveler. Airport landing fees are ridiculously high, and passed on to the passenger. The airports are glorious monuments to civic pride, like the Cathedrals, and we need more functional, inexpensive facilities. The USA is insane with its Homeland Security fees and taxes, and Germany with its taxation of foreign feet upon its ground. This has little to do with the claimed ecological concerns. Travel to and within Germany is increasingly becoming a luxury enjoyed by the rich, with the cost of the trains rising, the destruction of the slower, less expensive lines serving small towns and the glorification of the ICE. I am not saying I want a Germany of Trabants, but rather one for the drivers of Opels and less attention to the BMWs of the world. But I guess Germany has to bail out its BMW-driving banks and blame it all on the Greeks.
14:37 March 25, 2012 by nemo999
I thought most Germany Banker either drove Black or Silver, sometimes White Audi, it use to be Mercedes.

PS we are now aim for the Spanish, it will just be a matter of time.
22:02 March 25, 2012 by Logic Guy
Well, this tax is just as stupid as the one the EU has imposed on foreign airlines.

It has already began to cause all, sorts of problems too, such as to deny European carriers landing rights, or the cancel and out-right decision not to purchase Airbus planes.

Human life is much easier for those with Spiritual Intelligence. People who are committed to the Non-emotional / Buddhist approach don't engage in the craziness that has plagued humanity since the start of time.

Imagine better things.
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