Austrian government to introduce higher taxes on flights, with a minimum flight price of €40

The Austrian government, headed by Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, announced a rescue package of €600 million for Austrian Airlines on 8th June. But there are also 3 new measures, designed to make aviation less environmentally damaging. These include the immediate introduction of the reform of the air ticket tax. Instead of the previous €3.50 for short-haul flights, €7.50 for medium-haul flights and €17.50 for long-haul flights, it is now a standard of €12 euros. So that is more for shorter flights, but less for long-haul trips. In addition, there will be an increased tax of €30 for flights of under 350 kilometres, with the objective of deterring people from flying short distances – and encouraging train use instead.  In addition, the law on airport fees will be amended, so the tax will be based on carbon emissions and noise.  There is to be a minimum price for any air ticket, that will be €40. Austria is the first country to introduce this.  Austrian politicians describe the environmental harm done by aviation as environmental and social “dumping”, which is making profits at the expense of the climate and employees.



No less than 40 euros

Austria defines a minimum price for flights

The Austrian government wants to make aviation more sustainable. They have adopted three measures to achieve this. One primarily affects low-cost airlines.
By Stefan Eiselin  (AeroTelegraph – Austria)
The Austrian government headed by Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz not only announced a rescue package of 600 million euros for Austrian Airlines on Monday (June, 8).
It also presented three measures designed to make aviation more ecological and social. These include the immediate introduction of the reform of the air ticket levy.Instead of the previous 3.50 euros for short-haul flights, 7.50 euros for medium-haul flights and 17.50 euros for long-haul flights, it is now a standard of 12 euros.
However, it was decided to introduce an increased tax of 30 euros for flights under 350 kilometres. This applies to the Vienna – Graz connection, for example.
In addition, the law on airport fees will be amended. In the future, emissions and noise will form the basis for the level of charges.Not at the expense of the climate and employees
But the third measure is the most extensive: In the future there will be no more cheap tickets in Austria. «This makes us pioneers in Europe», environmental Minister Leonore Gewessler said on Monday (June, 8) at a press conference.
The politician explained what the anti-dumping clause means: No more tickets would be allowed «below the legally prescribed fees and charges». That means, for example, no more tickets under 40 euros, Gewessler said. This would prevent airlines from making profits at the expense of the climate and employees.



Austria to introduce €40 minimum flight price

Author: AFP  (RTL  – Luxemburg)


Austria’s government announced Monday it would introduce a €40 minimum price for flights in order to combat “social and environmental dumping.”

At a press conference announcing a government-backed rescue package for Austrian Airlines, Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler said: “It will no longer be possible to offer tickets which are cheaper than the actual costs,” referring to the social and environmental impact of the industry.

Austrian Airlines will receive a 600-million-euro ($677 million) rescue package to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the government said Monday, but also announced these new rules to make aviation more climate-friendly.

Austria will provide 450 million euros of the rescue package, with the rest coming from German giant Lufthansa, of which Austrian Airlines is a subsidiary, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said.

The Austrian government will guarantee 300 million euros in loans on top of a 150-million-euro grant, he added, confirming earlier media reports of the deal.

Kurz said the airlines and the government had agreed to three goals: saving jobs, maintaining Vienna as a key hub and “necessary measures in terms of climate protection”.

Prominent Green politicians such as Gewessler had made clear in recent weeks that they wanted any deal to come with conditions to reduce the environmental impact of aviation.

Gewessler said that the minimum price would mean “the end of one euro tickets”, adding that the measure would make Austria a European “pioneer”.

“I think this is what’s necessary for sustainable and fair aviation,” she said.

Later this month, Lufthansa is to ask shareholders to back a nine-billion-euro bailout deal negotiated with the German government, which will take a 20-percent stake in the group under the agreement.

Austrian Airlines’ fleet has been largely grounded for almost three months due to the restrictions introduced to fight the new coronavirus pandemic, which have devastated the international travel industry.

The airline plans to restart flights from June 15 to several European destinations and Tel Aviv.

Some long-distance services will be restarted in July, including to New York, Washington and Bangkok.



See earlier:

Austrian government would like any Austrian Airlines state bailout to be linked to climate targets and lower CO2 emissions in future

Austria’s environment minister has said that Coronavirus state aid for Austrian Airlines should support efforts to cut aviation’s carbon footprint, as the government negotiates with the firm’s German parent company, Lufthansa.  Any aid should be used to cut carbon emissions, as it is public money, and needs to be used wisely. Austrian Airlines has grounded all planes. “When it is about an industry that particularly needs to contribute to climate protection, then it makes a lot of sense to use this situation to support this transformation,” the minister said.  Europe’s airlines are struggling to keep their heads above water, as virus lockdown measures slash demand for air travel. According to the IATA,  latest estimates are that global losses for the airline sector this year will nearly reach €300 billion.  Airlines are trying to get state aid, to bail them out, hoping they can get back to being profitable as soon as possible.  It is unclear what specific climate conditions could be written into a bailout deal but options reportedly include a pledge to reduce short-haul flights, increased cooperation with rail companies, more low carbon fuels [if they exist] and bigger tax contributions.