Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) condemned the Dutch Government’s plans to impose further taxes on air passengers. The government is planning to tax passengers departing the Netherlands by air as much as €45 citing environmental reasons.

“This passenger tax is ineffective, inappropriate and it breaches international obligations. It is a thinly disguised tax grab that does nothing for the environment. If anything, it is counter productive as it limits airlines’ ability to buy newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO.

“Airlines are making great strides to improve their environmental performance. Last year we saved 6 million tonnes of CO2 by shortening 350 routes globally. We have improved fuel efficiency 70% over the past 40 years and forecast a further 25% improvement by 2020. The Dutch Government should be looking at what it can do to help airlines limit emissions. It can start by working with other EU governments to implement a Single European Sky that would save 12 million tonnes of CO2 each year. It should also look at tax credits as an incentive to improve environmental performance rather than counterproductive taxes,” added Bisignani.

The passenger tax also breaches resolutions of the International Civil Organisation (ICAO) and Article 15 of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. “I am surprised that the Netherlands, as an ICAO Contracting State, chooses to ignore its obligations and trample over international agreements,” Bisignani commented.

“We are seeing a worrying trend across Europe with governments cynically taxing air passengers for environmental reasons then failing to use the revenues for environmental purposes. These taxes are blunt instruments that just damage tourism and impact the competitiveness of European businesses. We urge the Dutch Government to rethink this ineffective, inappropriate and misguided proposal,” concluded Bisignani.

Notes for editors:

  • The ticket tax proposal was included in the 2008 Tax Plan issued on 18 September. The parliamentary debate on the 2008 Tax Plan is scheduled for 12 November. Debate in Plenary and votes on motions will take place during the week commencing 19 November. Votes on the entire tax plan will take place during the week commencing 18 December. If approved, the tax will come into effect in July 2008.,2007/09/2008-Tax-Plan--Focus-on-greening-and-labour-partic.html
  • The proposal would increase the existing Passenger Service Charge by €11.25 for passengers travelling within the European Union and flights under 2500 km and would increase €45 for passengers to other destinations. The current Passenger Service Charge is €13 at Amsterdam Schiphol; €12.50 at Rotterdam; €10.61 at Maastricht Aachen; €12.25 at Eindhoven and €11.00 at Enschede.
  • ICAO Document 8632 states, “… with respect to taxes on the sale and use of international air transport: each Contracting State shall reduce to the fullest practicable extent and make plans to eliminate … all forms of taxation on the sale or use of international transport by air, including taxes on gross receipts and taxes levied directly on passengers or shippers.”
  • Article 15 of the Chicago Convention (document 7300) states that: “…no fees, dues or other charges shall be imposed by any contracting State in respect solely of the right of transit over or entry into or exit from its territory of any aircraft of a contracting State or persons or property thereon.”