Tax on short flights worries Brussels Airlines

Short trips by plane should be discouraged with a tax. The aviation sector is concerned.

Anyone taking the plane for a flight of less than 500 kilometers will soon have to pay a tax on their ticket. With this so-called ‘boarding tax’, the government wants to combat the pollution caused by such flights. And the tax must also raise 30 million euros. There is not much concrete information yet. What amount the boarding tax will be and whether it will have to be paid on each short flight: those modalities have yet to be determined, it sounds.

That is precisely what makes the aviation sector nervous. ‘We are not against a tax, but it must not cause a competitive disadvantage,’ says Maaike Andries, spokeswoman for Brussels Airlines. She is thinking of passengers who take short flights and then transfer to a long-haul flight. According to her, almost every passenger who flies from Brussels to Paris does this: they transfer there to a flight to Africa. The company wants those transfer passengers to remain exempt from the tax. ‘That is also the case in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris or London,’ says Andries. ‘If these passengers also have to pay that tax, that traffic will shift there. Then you have no climate benefit and our hub model is disadvantaged.’

The Belgian aviation umbrella organization Bata says that such measures are best taken at European or even global level. At the same time, she argues in favor of investing the proceeds of the tax in ‘greening the aviation sector’.

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