• Germany edition
 
Germany plans to scrap air passenger tax
Flying from Germany could get cheaper. Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa

Germany plans to scrap air passenger tax

Published: 22 Nov 2013 12:11 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Nov 2013 12:11 GMT+01:00

Members of the transport group decided on Thursday during coalition talks between Chancellor Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) to abolish air passenger duty, which applies to departures from German airports, the Bild newspaper reported.

But the final decision on whether or not the duty is scrapped will fall to party leaders and depend on the SPD and Merkel’s conservative bloc forming a coalition government. Negotiations are still ongoing.

The tax was introduced in Germany two years ago but the parties believe that it is costing the country more money than it brings in as passengers are put off flying from German airports by the high cost of travel.

If the duty is abolished, ticket prices would be reduced by €7.50 on short-haul journeys, €23.43 on medium-haul and slashed on long-haul flights by €42.18, the Bild said.

Air passenger duty is higher in other European countries such as Britain which, behind Chad, is the world’s second most expensive country to fly from, according to research by the World Economic Forum published in March this year.

In the US, international flyers are charged $13.40, the State Department’s website shows.

When Germany’s tax was introduced in 2011 CDU Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble bore the brunt of considerable criticism from the CDU’s then coalition partners the Free Democratic Party (FDP).

But the mark-up on ticket prices helped shore up the budget and contributed almost €1 billion to the treasury every year, according to Bild.

The tax was also seen as an important move by environmental groups to make flying more expensive.

When the German parliament took the decision to introduce the tax in November 2010, a statement from Bund, Germany’s branch of Friends of the Earth, called it “one of the few measures for more climate protection in the transport industry.”

In response to plans to abolish the tax, the organization issued a statement urging the coalition to maintain and increase the duty.

“The air passenger duty does not lead to the exodus of passengers to foreign airports or to the loss of jobs in airlines as the Federal Association of the Air Travel Industry (BDL) claims," it said.

“In order to develop a guiding impact and generate additional income for the financing of environmental protection in developing countries, air passenger duty must be increased further,” the NGO argued.

But the BDL, which has campaigned against passenger duty since its introduction, stands fully behind the tax cut.

It claimed that in 2012 Germany’s five biggest airline companies lost €513m to the government through the tax.

The body’s president Klaus Peter Siegloch said on Tuesday the increase in ticket prices was “a considerable burden for the German flight industry and airports,” Bild reported.

The association points to the fact that air traffic has increased faster in neighbouring countries than it has in Germany, despite the fact that these states have weaker economies. 

READ MORE: Berlin's new airport needs another €1.1 billion

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Fred Searle (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Frankfurt court lifts national Uber ban
Uber manager for Germany Fabien Nestmann leaves the Frankfurt court on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Frankfurt court lifts national Uber ban

App-based chauffeur car service Uber is no longer illegal in Germany, a Frankfurt court ruled on Tuesday afternoon. READ  

Chef admits Düsseldorf killing spree
Yanquing in court in Düsseldorf on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Chef admits Düsseldorf killing spree

A gunman who killed three people in Düsseldorf and injured four others in a shooting spree at two lawyers’ offices admitted his guilt on Tuesday. READ  

Man dies six days after chemical blast
The plant was destroyed in the explosion. Photo: DPA

Man dies six days after chemical blast

An engineer who was called to fix a defect at a chemical waste plant which then exploded has died of his injuries – six days after the huge blast near Bremen. READ  

German universities tumble in global rankings
Students at Heidelberg University. Photo: DPA

German universities tumble in global rankings

Three-quarters of German universities have fallen in global standings in the last year, with just one institution among the top 50 in the world, according to rankings released on Tuesday. READ  

Germany prepares to send drones to Ukraine
A Luna drone belonging to the German military. Photo: DPA

Germany prepares to send drones to Ukraine

German unmanned drones could soon be flying over eastern Ukraine to keep an eye on pro-Russian rebel troop movements. READ  

'Why I'm camping for six days outside Apple store'
Photo: The Local

'Why I'm camping for six days outside Apple store'

Most holidaymakers on a week-long camping trip pitch up by lakes or next to the beach. But two Berliners are hoping to break a record by settling in for six days outside the city's Apple Store to be the first to get their hands on new iPhone 6. READ  

Netflix launches in Germany (in English too)
Some of the cast of Orange is the New Black at a photocall in Mexico. Photo: DPA

Netflix launches in Germany (in English too)

UPDATE: TV streaming service Netflix opened its virtual doors in Germany on Tuesday in the face of stiff competition from existing players. Users will be able to watch hit shows and movies in English on the German service. READ  

Auschwitz guard charged over 300,000 deaths
The gates at the former concentration camp of Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

Auschwitz guard charged over 300,000 deaths

A 93-year old man from Lower Saxony will stand trial for 300,000 counts of accessory to murder at the Auschwitz death camp while a member of the Waffen-SS. READ  

Germany can't crack 'CIA double agent' laptop
Photo: DPA

Germany can't crack 'CIA double agent' laptop

An alleged CIA double agent secured his laptop so well that German secret services have failed to crack it since he was arrested in July, according to reports. READ  

Lufthansa pilots abandon Frankfurt strike plans
Ready to go again. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots abandon Frankfurt strike plans

UPDATE: Pilots' union Cockpit has announced that a planned strike at Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday has been called off. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Photo: DPA
Politics
These men want to be the next mayor of Berlin
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Photo: DPA
National
Neo-Nazis are attacking newspaper offices
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Election night in Brandenburg and Thuringia
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Berlin spy station sees tourism boom
Photo: DPA/ESA
Tech
VIDEO: How one German astronaut sees Earth
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Photo: DPA
Politics
Are Germans right to want cooler relations with USA?
Photo: Bayernpartei/DPA
Politics
Why some Bavarians want a Scottish 'Yes'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
12 things to do in Berlin for less than a latte
Photo: Facebook
National
Bavarian waiter breaks beer-carrying record
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,283
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd