Germany will raise climate taxes on air tickets by up to 75% next year

Oct 17, 2019

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Germany is set to introduce additional taxes on air travel from April 2020, in a push to encourage travelers to use trains rather than planes.

The taxes will depend on the length of the flight and will be especially noticeable on short-haul flights, but long-haul passengers will feel the pinch too. The tax on each ticket from Germany to/from the U.S., for example, is set to rise by 15 euros per ticket, or about $17, to the equivalent of $66.

The charges, as reported by Bloomberg News, are as follows:

  • Domestic German and intra-European flights to and from Germany — increasing 75% from €7.50 to €13.03 ($14.5)
  • Mid-haul flights to and from Germany — increasing from €23.43 to €33.01 ($36.7)
  • Long-haul flights to and from Germany — increasing from €42.18 to €59.43 ($66)

According to German travel news site Reise Reporter, long-haul flights are defined for the purposes of this tax as above 6,000 kilometers. It follows that only flights to Boston, which is about 5,900 kilometers from Frankfurt, would be taxed at the mid-haul rate; all other U.S. destinations currently served from Germany are above the 6,000 km limit.

Bloomberg also reported that the practice of dumping excess capacity by selling airline seats below cost will be outlawed, although it is not clear how the government would determine what amount is below cost. This may see result in fewer sale fares from low-cost carriers like Ryanair, which regularly sells European flights from just a few euros.

Conversely, the value-added tax on rail tickets will decreased by 12 percentage points to just 7%.

Ryanair has previously spoken out against the plan, saying it will feel the brunt of the increased taxes far more as a low-cost, short-haul carrier. On the other hand. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has described Ryanair’s cheap sale fares as “economically and ecologically irresponsible”.

For passengers, it is notable that the taxes apply to both cash fares and points / miles redemptions.

Featured image by Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images

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