Belgium scraps aviation tax plans

10.12.2008   (Business Travel World)

Belgium has scrapped proposals to charge an aviation tax on passengers, which
would have raised €132m for government coffers.  The charge would have amounted
to between €5 and €50 per passenger but tension between the federal and regional
governments has seen the plans dropped.

Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus. secretary general of the Association of European Airlines, said: "this decision brings a note of sanity to the ticket tax debate.   It
has become fashionable for governments to plunder the airline industry and its
customers, and cynically pretend they are doing so for the sake of the environment…
Taxing a national asset is just plain crazy."

Last month, the Belgian plans – along with similar plans from Ireland – were
dubbed by the
International Air Transport Association as "collective madness".

"Collective madness is the only way to describe the €150 million Irish and €132
million Belgian departure tax proposals.   Filling budget gaps or financing government
investment in the banking industry with gratuitous travel taxes is policy myopia
at its worst," said the organisation’s director general and   CEO Giovanni Bisignani.

"Rather than collective action to squeeze taxpayers, Europe’s governments should
be looking to improve European competitiveness.   An effective Single European
Sky would save 16 million tonnes of CO2 annually and improve the competitiveness of Europe’s skies by over €5 billion,"
he said.

Last week,   revealed that British Airways were planning to end services between Gatwick and Dublin, in part because of the introduction of the   €10 tax on passengers by the Irish