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Growing opposition to Dutch government's plan on 'green' tax on air freight

THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Air Cargo Netherlands have voiced their opposition to a proposed air cargo tax in the Netherlands that aims to make the aviation sector 'greener and more sustainable'

Growing opposition to Dutch government's plan on 'green' tax on air freight

THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Air Cargo Netherlands have voiced their opposition to a proposed air cargo tax in the Netherlands that aims to make the aviation sector 'greener and more sustainable'

02 July 2019 - 19:00

THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Air Cargo Netherlands have voiced their opposition to a proposed air cargo tax in the Netherlands that aims to make the aviation sector 'greener and more sustainable'.

Their reaction followed a closed government meeting at the end of last month in the Second Chamber of the Finance Committee to discuss the proposed tax on freighters.



'The noisiest planes will be taxed at a rate of EUR3.85 (US$4.38) per tonne of cargo and the quietest at a rate of EUR1.925 per tonne of cargo,' the government was cited as saying in a report by UK's The Loadstar.



'The tax will be based on the weight of the aircraft,' it said, adding that its 'preference is for a European tax on aviation, but if none is forthcoming, it will introduce one itself.'



Air Cargo Netherlands (ACN) is lobbying against such a tax.



'It is quite a difficult discussion we have with our government as there is no direct relation between the new tax measures and pollution levels,' said ACN managing director Maarten van As. 'So according to us there is also no clear relation between this tax and extra measures to lower emissions.



'The government asks - urges - the industry to invest in sustainability. The industry can only do this if it can earn back these investments. At the moment we see an accumulation of extra costs and taxes while airport capacity is constrained.'



While he acknowledged that the tax would pay for climate measures, he added: 'This tax bill and the slots shortage are no motivation. This is what we are trying to explain to our government, on different levels.'



IATA is also not in favour of the tax.



'IATA-commissioned research shows that air passengers want governments to encourage the development of new technologies and sustainable aviation fuels to reduce aviation carbon emissions, rather than impose ineffective 'environmental' taxes,' it said.



'According to the survey, the most preferred actions for governments to prioritise for managing aviation's climate change impacts are to support the development of sustainable aviation fuels (64 per cent); support research and development of new technology and better operations (62 per cent).



'In contrast, environmental taxes were one of the least popular options, with just 22 per cent support.'



IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said: 'From next year we will cap emissions in a global offsetting scheme that will generate $40 billion of climate financing. And airlines have bought up all the sustainable aviation fuel that is available.'



The Dutch government, however, is pushing hard for other governments in Europe to agree to an aviation tax 'in the context of the climate goals and creating a level playing field. The feasibility of a European levy on kerosene is also being investigated,' it said.



The government added that the proposed aviation tax would be scrapped: 'If it emerges in 2019 or 2020 that European agreements will be made on an aviation tax, it will still be possible to halt the introduction of a national flight tax.'


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