'Flying is too cheap': Germany considers higher flight tax

DPA/The Local
DPA/The Local - [email protected] • 18 Jul, 2019 Updated Thu 18 Jul 2019 09:23 CEST
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Before a federal meeting on Thursday, Environment Minister Svenja Schulze spoke out in favour of making flights in Germany more expensive to cut CO2 emissions.

"I believe that air traffic must also bear the costs of greenhouse gas emissions and that this must be reflected in air fares," the Social Democratic (SPD) politician told  "Rheinische Post" on Thursday. "This is why we also need a fair CO2 price for air traffic."

A Europe-wide approach would be the best way, said Schulze, but Germany can not afford to wait until an agreement had been reached at EU level, she added. 

"I am therefore in favour of increasing the German aviation tax as a first step,” she said, adding that flying on certain routes costs less than travelling by train. 

Schulze pointed to France as a role model. Paris wants to introduce an environment tax on airline tickets starting in 2020, which would cost between €1.50 and €18 euros per ticket. 

European air traffic is already part of a "cap and trade" emissions scheme, in which economic incentives are given to keep C02 emissions below a certain level. Germany also has an aviation tax, which has been levied since 2011 at rates currently ranging from €7.38 to €41.49.

Last year it swept almost €1.2 billion into the federal budget.

'Flying is cheap'

Still, "Flying is cheap, often too cheap," said Schulze. "It cannot be that a train journey within Germany is more expensive than a flight. Air traffic must be priced more reasonably.

This would require an appropriate Europe-wide price for kerosene or a Europe-wide ticket tax."

Germany's so called 'climate cabinet' will meet on Thursday evening. The talks between the responsible ministers and Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) will focus on measures already presented for climate protection.

They will also explore how Germany can do more to achieve its climate goals in 2030 - namely 55 percent less greenhouse gasses than in 1990.

Setting a price on CO2 emissions is set to be the subject of discussion, which could make the transport and heating sectors more expensive. 

However, decisions on this and on an overall package for more climate protection will not be taken until September.

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