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article imageFrench government is introducing an eco-tax for airline travel

By Tim Sandle     Jul 9, 2019 in Environment
Airline travel comes with a relatively high environmental impact. Adopting the 'polluter pays' philosophy, the French government is set to introduce a so-called 'eco-tax' each time an airline ticket is purchased.
The proposal from the Macron government is for a tax levy to apply on all tickets purchased for flights leaving an airport in mainland France. This 'eco tax' is expected to raise $202 million per year and legislation is being developed for the tax to apply from 2020 as a pilot scheme, followed by full implementation in 2021.
The tax will not be a flat rate charge; instead the amount paid per passenger will be dependent upon the type of ticket purchased. This means a first class ticket holder will pay more than someone with a economy class ticket. A further variation will relate to the destination, with a flight within the European Union costing less than a slight with a destination outside of the European Union.
As an example, the BBC reports that an economy class ticket of a flight taking off and lading within the European Union will cost around $2; whereas a business class ticket to a non-European Union country destination will cost around $25. These ticket prices are not part of any economic nudge theory, in that they are not intended to put people off traveling by air, or to persuade people to make fewer journeys by air (as would be the case by making the costs of a ticket prohibitively expensive). Instead, the price increase is meant to ensure that each air passenger contributes to tackling the environmental impact of the flight.
In terms of counteracting the environmental impact of flight, the French government will use the money raised to invest in forms of transport with a far lower environmental impact, such as rail. The measure is far from novel. In 1994, the U.K. introduced an Air Passenger Duty tax to offset air travel’s effects on the climate.
Announced by France's Transport Minister Élisabeth Borne, the tax forms part of a wider initiative termed the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. The scheme additionally requires all airlines operating in France to monitor and report their emissions from this year. They may also be measures introduced to end tax exemptions for jet fuel.
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