Cheap Flights

An EU departure tax would fly in the face of reason

While the Conservative leadership race dominates the news in the UK, the European Union is continuing to regulate as usual. At a recent European Council, the Netherlands proposed an EU departure tax, which would add a levy of €7 (£6.25) to every flight departing from an airport inside of a member state. The tax has the support of France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden and Finland, but could be opposed by Malta and Cyprus. Both islands would be hurt by higher taxes on air travel, since travelling from, say, Stockholm to Malta by boat is probably not the most convenient of options.

French Finance Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has argued that before such a tax can even be countenanced, the EU needs to remove the right for countries to veto any EU-wide tax initiatives. Instead, he proposes a system of qualified-majority voting, which would fundamentally strengthen the EU’s ability to push through significant legislative change in the face of opposition. Such changes are afoot, and make the likelihood of the Netherlands proposed tax becoming law in the future.

Having a passenger tax isn’t a new idea. In fact, Air Passenger Duty already exists in the UK, Italy, Germany, France, Sweden and Austria. In the UK, the reduced rate for air travel in the lowest class available is £13 (standard rate at £26). Flights over 2,000 miles have a reduced rate of £78 and a standard rate of £172. This is up from 2007, when the tax was doubled from £5 to £10 for European destinations. There have subsequent increases, even though research from Oxford University suggests that high-income groups would rather absorb the tax than change their travel habits, showing that the Air Passenger Duty is clearly regressive, hitting the poorest hardest.

Such regression is exacerbated by the fact that the EU departure tax would be applied uniformly to all citizens of all countries across the Union. The disparity in wealth (or GDP per capita) of Germany or Luxembourg compared to the likes of Bulgaria or Moldova is dramatic. And yet under this tax a venture capitalist in Frankfurt and a construction worker in Sofia would pay the same levy whenever they boarded a plane.

Over recent decades affordable flying has democratised the act of travelling. Locations that were previously unattainable for lower middle class and low-income households are now viable tourist destinations. This has benefited both the tourists themselves and the places they travel to, helping to regenerate calcified towns and cities.

But what about the environment? As ever, technology is leading the way to a brighter, greener future, with the aviation industry developing new and better technologies to clean up air travel. Airbus’ new A321XLR. for example, has 30% less kerosene consumption per passenger, while adding 30% more range than the currently used A321neo. That should be to nobody’s surprise: both the aviation sector and airlines do not have any incentive to use more kerosene than they have to.

The European Union is going down the road of abstinence instead of innovation. The United Kingdom should go in the opposite direction, and trust engineers and scientists to solve the transportation and environmental challenges of the future, while maintaining affordable travel for all. The first step towards doing that post-Brexit would be to abolish the regressive Air Passenger Duty.

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L’État français augmentera encore vos prix d’avion

La ministre des Transports Elisabeth Borne a annoncé le mardi 9 juillet que le gouvernement va mettre en place dès 2020 une écotaxe de 1,50 à 18 euros sur les billets d’avion pour tous les vols au départ de la France, sauf vers la Corse et l’Outre Mer et pour les vols en correspondance. 

L’année dernière, le même gouvernement avait décidé de réduire cette taxe de 1,20 euros à 90 centimes afin d’aider le secteur de l’aviation. Avec la suppression de l’augmentation la taxe intérieure de consommation sur les produits énergétiques (TICPE), l’État a décidé de récolter les recettes fiscales dans un autre secteur du transport. 

Cette taxe aura des répercussions sur les coûts de vos billets d’avion. L’agence pour le choix du consommateur s’oppose à cette taxe en France, ainsi qu’au niveau de l’Union européenne. Notre mouvement #HandsOffMyCheapFlights (ne touchez pas à mes vols pas chers) fait campagne contre une taxe de départ européenne de 7 euros par vol.

En février, le gouvernement néerlandais a commencé à diffuser une prise de position suggérant à l’UE d’introduire une taxe de départ sur les vols au départ de l’Union européenne. Le document promu par le secrétaire d’État néerlandais aux finances, Menno Snel, propose de mettre en place une taxe de 7 euros par vol passager dans tous les États membres.

L’UE28 compte près de 1,5 milliard de passagers aériens au départ chaque année. Les projets néerlandais coûteraient aux consommateurs européens 10 milliards d’euros par an et pourraient empêcher de nombreux Européens à rendre visite à des amis ou à étudier à l’étranger.

Pour un don de 7 euros, vous deviendrez membre officiel du mouvement Hands Off My Cheap Flights et recevrez un badge unique portant votre nom. Le logo du mouvement Hands Off My Cheap Flights sera utilisé tout au long de la campagne pour signifier l’importance de votre investissement et pour faire progresser votre choix de consommateur à l’aide de divers outils de marketing.

Pour un don de 50 euros, vous deviendrez l’une des principales voix du mouvement Hands Off My Cheap Flights. Vous serez mis en vedette sur le site Web de la CCC en tant que partisan de la campagne et vous serez invité à partager vos idées sur la question. 

Nous mettrons fin à la taxe de départ si nous travaillons ensemble

Svarsto naują aviacijos mokestį: kiek lėktuvų bilietai brangtų Lietuvoje

Ragina politikus neskubėti

Nevyriausybinės vartotojų teisių organizacijos „Consumer Choice Center“ vadovas Fredas Roederis, kad naujas europinis mokestis pakenktų vartotojams.

„Keliavimas oru per paskutinius dešimtmečius tapo kur kas pigesnis. Tai demokratizavo mobilumą, nes net mažesnes pajamas turintys vartojai gavo galimybę keliauti užsienyje“, – pranešime žiniasklaidai cituojamas organizacijos vadovas.

Jo teigimu, Nyderlanduose ar Švedijoje 7 eurų dydžio mokestis nebūtų didelis, bet ne tokiose turtingose ES valstybėse jis būtų gana juntamas. Kitokio tipo papildomas skrydžių apmokestinimas esą irgi turėtų neigiamos įtakos vartotojams.

„Klimato iššūkiai svarbūs, tačiau jie negali būti sprendžiami paprasčiausiai stengiantis išlaikyti vartotojus namuose. Nauji lėktuvų modeliai turi kur kas efektyvesnius variklius ir ne už ilgo taps prieinami rinkoje. Politikos pasiūlymų skubinimas niekur nenuves“, – komentavo F. Roederis.

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Ένας επιπλέον «αεροπορικός» φόρος θα έπληττε τις κοινωνικά ευάλωτες τάξεις

Ένας ευρωπαϊκός αεροπορικός φόρος στους επιβάτες, θα έπληττε την κινητικότητα των πιο «κοινωνικά ευάλωτων» καταναλωτών, υποστηρίζει, το «Τhe Consumer Choice Center», καθώς εναντιώνεται στις προτάσεις της Ολλανδίας για φόρο στα εισιτήρια, στα 7 ευρώ στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση.

Οι υπουργοί της ΕΕ πέρασαν δύο ημέρες συζητώντας προτάσεις για περιβαλλοντικό φόρο επί των αερομεταφορών σε συνάντηση την περασμένη εβδομάδα. Στόχος τους είναι να παρουσιάσουν ένα νέο φορολογικό σχέδιο για τη νέα Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή το φθινόπωρο.

Σκοπός είναι να περιοριστούν οι πτήσεις προκειμένου να μειωθούν οι εκπομπές του διοξειδίου  του άνθρακα.

Ο Fred Roeder, διευθύνων σύμβουλος του,The Consumer Choice Center, δήλωσε:

«Τα αεροπορικά ταξίδια είναι σημαντικά φθηνότερα τις τελευταίες δεκαετίες. Αυτό έχει εκδημοκρατίσει τις μεταφορές, στο βαθμό που οι καταναλωτές χαμηλού εισοδήματος έχουν σχεδόν την ίδια ικανότητα να ταξιδεύουν στο εξωτερικό ως μισθωτοί μεσαίας τάξης, αλλά και υψηλής.

Η Ολλανδία πρότεινει μια νέα εισφορά ύψους 7 ευρώ ανά επιβάτη και ανά τμήμα πτήσης στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση.

«Αυτό μπορεί να μην είναι μεγάλο ποσό σε ορισμένες βόρειες χώρες όπως τη Σουηδία ,αλλά στην Κεντρική και Ανατολική Ευρώπη, αυτό θα αποτελούσε σημαντική αύξηση των τιμών».

Συνέχισε: 

«Τα νησιωτικά κράτη όπως η Μάλτα, η Κύπρος και τμήματα της Ισπανίας και της Ελλάδας θα έχουν σοβαρό αντίκτυπο στην οικονομία τους.

Ο Roeder δήλωσε: «Υπάρχουν περιβαλλοντικές προκλήσεις που πρέπει να ξεπεραστούν, αλλά δεν μπορούν να καταπολεμηθούν απλά λέγοντας στους καταναλωτές να μένουν στο σπίτι τους. Τα νέα μοντέλα αεροσκαφών με πιο αποδοτικούς κινητήρες θα είναι διαθέσιμα τα επόμενα χρόνια.

Τέλος, αναφέρεται ότι η Iata αναφέρει ότι οι κυβερνήσεις θα πρέπει να ενθαρρύνουν τις νέες τεχνολογίες και τα αειφόρα καύσιμα για την αεροπορία, προκειμένου να μειώσουν τις εκπομπές διοξειδίου του άνθρακα στους αερομεταφορές, αντί να επιβάλλουν περιβαλλοντικούς φόρους.

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EU-wide air tax would ‘hit mobility of the socially vulnerable’

An EU-wide passenger tax would hit the mobility of the most “socially vulnerable” consumers, it is being claimed.

Advocacy group The Consumer Choice Center attacked proposals put forward by the Netherlands for €7 ticket tax.

EU ministers spent two days debating proposals for an environmental tax on aviation at a meeting last week.

They aim to present an aviation tax plan to the new European Commission this autumn.

The goal is to curb flights in order to reduce carbon emissions.

Fred Roeder, managing director of the Consumer Choice Center, said: “Air travel has got considerably cheaper throughout the past decades. This has democratised transportation, to the extent that low-income consumers have nearly the same ability to travel abroad as middle-class or high-income earners.

“The Netherlands has suggested a new levy of €7 per passenger per flight segment in the European Union.

“This might not be a lot in some northern countries such as Sweden – which supports the proposal – but in central and eastern Europe, this would constitute a considerable price increase.”

He added: “Other models, such as taxing fuel, would also result in higher ticket prices.

“No matter if the EU ends up with taxing passengers directly or taxing them indirectly through taxes on jet fuel, it will hurt mobility for the most socially vulnerable Europeans.

“Island nations such as Malta, Cyprus, and parts of Spain and Greece will also be hurt significantly as both tourism and commerce will get more expensive.”

Roeder said: “There are environmental challenges to overcome, but they cannot be combated by simply telling consumers to stay home. New aircraft models with more efficient engines will become available in the coming years. Rushing policy decisions won’t get us anywhere.”

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Democratising travel

The #HandsOffMyCheapFlights campaign is about more than just what its name suggests. Cheap flights are what consumers know and love about air travel in the past years, but it is the overall phenomenon of democratised travel that should have us stand in awe. For people in upper-middle-class and wealthy conditions, the world was just the purchase of a ticket away for much longer. Whether it’s €300 or €30 to Milan, doesn’t really make much of a difference to them. So to the privileged (you’ll excuse the word) eye, travelling has remained the same, with one notable change: there are more people on the airport. Shockingly, it’s low-income consumers who suddenly fly into the same airport as the privileged travellers. It takes more time to get your suitcase, getting through security is a hassle, and for goodness sake, you can’t even get a seat while waiting to board.

No wonder some people are a bit annoyed. But saying that you don’t want people to fly just so that you don’t have to pay for fast-track security control isn’t marketable, so sustainability comes into play. What about all the noise and pollution? Don’t bother considering the fact that innovation in the aviation sector is continuously improving fuel efficiency, since carriers have no incentive to waste kerosene needlessly. Also, don’t mention that improved aircrafts, more efficient flight routes, and reduced speeds have made the sector much more efficient than it was 20 or 30 years ago.

That’s all a bit hyperbolic, and you’ll maybe even consider it bad faith. And maybe it is.

But for some reason, not everyone rejoices at the democratisation of travel. In a time in which the debate about inequality is so predominant, we’re not lending an ear to consumers who want to go on holidays, or visit a friend, just as much as all those with higher income than them. Modern aviation has made it possible, yet activists and governments around the world are there to roll this back.

The Consumer Choice Center fights the EU departure tax from the beginning. We will stand up for consumers who want to have choices when it comes to the means of transportation. We are making people aware that flights are emitting much less carbon than they were in the past, and that this level innovation is set to continue in the future. If however, we choose to limit this development in an effort to answer to alarmism, then we will inevitably fail.

Let’s not let that happen.

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