Travellers to bail out bankers with new taxes07 November 2008
Travellers departing from Belgian or Irish airports can expect to find additional taxes on their flights in the coming months. In October, the Belgian and Irish governments announced plans to add departure taxes in their new budgets. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) criticised the idea of taxing passengers.
“Collective madness is the only way to describe the departure tax proposals. Filling budget gaps or financing government investment in the banking industry with gratuitous travel taxes is policy myopia at its worst,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
The Irish government intends to raise EUR 150 million annually by taxing passengers departing Irish airports beginning March 2009. In Belgium, the plan is to raise EURO 132 million annually with a similar tax. Meanwhile, the Dutch Government has already levied passenger taxes up to EURO 45.00 for flights departing Dutch airports. In 2007, the UK doubled its passenger tax and is still proposing to raise it again in the next few years.
In these four countries alone, travellers could face an annual tax burden of up to EURO 3.8 billion by 2010. Bisignani said that the timing couldn’t be worse to make travel even more expensive with the high cost of oil. He continued to say that European governments should concentrate on initiatives such as Single European Sky rather than squeeze taxpayers.