Pressure in Norway and Netherlands for a minimum air ticket price – Austria may get a €40 minimum

The Norwegian Pilots’ Association believes it may be sensible to set a minimum price for airline tickets in Norway.  This has been prompted by the low-cost airline Wizz Air setting up of new domestic routes within Norway.  In Austria, a minimum price of EUR €40 has been set for a plane ticket, as ultra-cheap tickets undermine both climate policy and liveable wage standards.  When airlines lower the price of a flight to about the price of a cup of coffee and a bun, “something is not as it should be.”  The very cheap flight prices by Wizz Air are  to beat competition from SAS and Norwegian, with tickets as cheap as  Norwegian Kroner NOK 199 [about £16.40] per ticket from November 5. Currently within Europe airlines can determine their ticket prices.  In June in the Netherlands, it was proposed that there should be a minimum air ticket price of €34 for plane tickets. The concern in the Dutch House of Representatives was that there would be a major competitive battle at Schiphol due to Covid, for the preservation of air rights. So airlines would try to fill their planes, to keep their routes, by lowering the prices hugely.  A minimum ticket price may get support in Holland from parties on the left. 


Norwegian union pushes minimum plane ticket price in reaction to Wizz Air’s low-cost routes


13th OCTOBER 2020

The Norwegian Pilots’ Association believes it may be worthwhile to see if a minimum price for airline tickets can be set in the country. The notion comes as a reaction to the low-cost airline Wizz Air’s setup of new domestic routes in Norway.

In Austria, a minimum price of EUR €40 has been set for a plane ticket, as super-cheap tickets undermine both climate policy and livable wage standards, according to Fri Fagbevegelse.

The union leader in the Norwegian Pilots’ Association, Yngve Carlsen, told the newspaper that such a price minimum might also be worth investigating in Norway.

“This is definitely an interesting way to go. In general, there is free competition, and the companies themselves set the prices.

“But when some companies lower the price to about what a cup of coffee costs at Gardermoen, something is not as it should be,” Carlsen said.

New domestic routes

Last week it became clear that the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air is opening domestic routes from Oslo to Bergen, Trondheim, and Tromsø.

Thus, it became obvious that Wizz Air wants to compete with SAS and Norwegian.

The low-cost carrier charges as low as NOK 199 [about £16.40] per ticket on the mentioned routes, and will start with the flights from November 5.

The Labor Party’s transport policy spokesman Sverre Myrli has sent a written inquiry to Minister of Transport Knut Arild Hareide, asking whether a minimum price for flights in Norway should be set.

“The starting point, according to the basic market regulation for air transport in the EU / EEA, is that the airlines are free to determine the price of their tickets,” Hareide wrote in his response to Myrli. 


See earlier:

Dutch Government parties push for minimum price for airline tickets

By Vlad Moca-Grama (Dutch Review)

June 17, 2020

The airline industry has been severely affected by the coronavirus crisis. And while controversies emerged from CEOs still receiving bonuses and companies getting bailouts, the government is starting to focus on something else: making sure airline tickets don’t sell for (too) cheap a price.

A way for airlines to get back on track is for them to sell plane tickets very cheaply. D66 and ChristenUnie, however, want a minimum price of €34 for plane tickets, reports NOS.

The concern in the House of Representatives is that there will be a major competitive battle at Schiphol Airport for the preservation of air rights.

According to D66 MP Jan Paternotte, “There is a good chance that after the crisis, companies will try to stick to routes. To fill those planes, they are going to stunt with tickets. They are going to dump them way below cost. Flying a lot, especially at short distances, has major environmental consequences.”

Similar plane ticket limit in Austria

The proposal for a minimum limit for plane tickets has a chance to succeed, as it has support from the majority of Dutch leftist parties. GroenLinks previously argued for the minimum ticket price, after a similar policy was introduced in Austria, where the minimum was set at 40 euros.

Frank Oostdam, director of ANVR (Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators) considers the proposal by D66 and ChristianUnie exciting. Nevertheless, he noted that “I would prefer it if it were part of a wider plan to make aviation more sustainable, then we agree. Now it is mainly a Marxist proposal, an individual test balloon.” 




See earlier:


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.