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The Traveller's Magazine
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As reported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) this week, many airlines have expressed disapproval of a new air tax put forward by the German government earlier this week at the IATA annual conference. Labelled as an environmental tax, this new initiative hopes to raise 1 billion Euro a year to help fight climate change.

The IATA responded to Germany’s proposal, headed by Angela Merkel, by explaining that global warming is a global problem, one that cannot be fought at a local level. It is true that we can, locally, do things to help prevent it, but unless the German government plans to plant trees with its 1 billion Euro a year, the tax doesn’t seem very logical.

The tax also comes at a very inopportune time but we, as travellers, may be looking at our own pocket books instead of theirs. Michael Engel, the director of the German Airline Association, explained that the tax would add 10-15 Euro to the price of an airline ticket. The truth is that after April when airspace was shut down because of the Ash Cloud, governments that rely on tourism need some way to make up lost money.

Many are reluctant to accept the proposal, simply because the Netherlands also imposed a similar tax in 2008 but abandoned the idea after one year, realising it was costing them more than the were earning. The reality was that it greatly reduced passenger traffic to Amsterdam Shiphol Airport, one of Europe’s busiest transit hubs, as passengers sought cheaper and more environmental ways to travel instead of paying the tax. Many fear it will do the same to cash-strapped Berlin.

What does this mean to travellers?

You’ll still find the low cost airfares you love, but taxes on that cheap fare will be a little higher. An alternative? Flying from a different nearby airport, travelling by alternative modes of transportation: train, rental car, bus, etc.

There’s no news yet when the tax will be put in place.

Speak your mind! Tell us what you think about tourist taxes, air fare surcharges and fees imposed by airline companies and governments. Are they worth it? Are they not?


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