France Wants an ‘Ecotax’ of up to $20 on Flights Beginning Next Year

Jul 9, 2019

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The French government announced on Tuesday that it plans to introduce a new environment tax on flights departing from France, beginning next year. The “ecotax” will range in amount between €1.50 and €18 ($1.70 and $20) as part of the government’s bid to help the environment.

Air France followed Tuesday’s announcement by releasing a statement, saying that it “strongly disapproves” of the proposal.

“This new tax would significantly penalize Air France’s competitiveness, at a time when the company needs to strengthen its investment capacity to more rapidly reduce its environmental footprint, notably as part of its fleet renewal policy,” the airline said in the statement.

The tax is expected to raise around €180 million ($200 million), which the French government plans to invest in more eco-friendly methods of transportation.

Air France says that the country is already one of the most highly taxed air transport industries in all of Europe, and this new imposition would cost the group (which includes KLM and Transavia) upwards of €60 million a year ($67 million), affecting its ability to remain competitive in the European aviation market.

In the face of increasing competition from low-cost carriers, the airline’s intra-Europe short-haul operation is already losing money. An additional tax on top of this would presumably not help, though this would be equally imposed on its competitors operating flights from France.

Paris CDG Airport. Photo by Emily McNutt / The Points Guy

The tax does not apply to flights arriving in France, flights connecting through France, or from France to French overseas territories like Reunion Island or French Polynesia. French Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne advised that the cheapest end of the tax will be for domestic and European economy flights, with the highest level imposed on business- and first-class ticketss departing France to outside the European Union.

In an era of increasing consciousness of environmental protection, the French flag carrier has agreed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050, which is in line with the Paris Climate Agreement Objectives.

Featured image by Darren Murph / The Points Guy

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