Economy

France 'will introduce eco-tax' on flights out of France

France 'will introduce eco-tax' on flights out of France”

French carrier Air France said on Tuesday it was against the government's plan to introduce an ecological tax on air transport, saying the measure would significantly penalise its competitiveness.

The "ecotax" costing between 1.50 euros ($1.7) and 18 euros ($20) will apply to most flights departing in France, Elisabeth Borne said.

Shares in airlines across Europe fell on the news, with Air France (AIRF.PA) down 5.2%, Ryanair (RYA.I) down 4.8%, easyJet (EZJ.L) down 4% and Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) down almost 3% at 1255 GMT.

Connecting flights will not be taxed, nor will those to France's Mediterranean island of Corsica and its overseas departments and territories, she added.

Starting from 2020, the government will slap a tax of €1.5 on economy-class tickets and €9 on business class ones for all domestic flights and those remaining inside Europe.

This will be spent on improving green transport within France. Its German competitor Lufthansa also traded lower with its shares falling 2.50 percent to 14.8 euros.

A similar tax was introduced in Sweden in April 2018, which imposed an added charge of up to 40 euros on every ticket in a bid to lessen the impact of air travel on the climate.

Calls to boycott air travel have grown in recent years in step with growing awareness about the dangers of climate change.

The industry has been under fire over its carbon emissions, which at 285 grams of CO2 emitted per kilometre travelled by a passenger far exceed all other modes of transport.

"The sector is under considerable pressure", Alexandre de Juniac, the chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), admitted at a meeting of the industry body in June.

The amount of the tax will depend on the type of ticket being bought. Brussels-based NGO Transport and Environment (T&E) estimates airline taxes raise about €1 billion per year in Germany and more than 3 billion in Britain.

French President Emmanuel Macron is also keen to boost his own green credentials after the French Green party surged in May's European Parliament election, finishing third behind Macron's centrist Republic on the Move party and the far-right National Rally.

French President Emmanuel Macron's government wants to tighten environmental regulation but had to abandon an attempt to increase tax on diesel fuel late past year following the "yellow vest" protest movement.



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