17 Dec 2019, 13:19
Julian Wettengel

Airline Lufthansa hit hardest by possible EU kerosene tax – Spiegel

Spiegel Online / Clean Energy Wire

German airline Lufthansa would be burdened most among leading European airlines should the EU introduce a kerosene tax as part of the planned Green Deal, writes Spiegel Online based on calculations by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut). Lufthansa would face extra costs of 2.5 billion euros should all its fuel be taxed with 33 cents per litre – the minimum tax rate for kerosene, which the EU stipulated in its 2003 Energy Tax Directive but with exemptions for commercial aviation companies. For the whole group – including Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings and others – it would add up to 4.2 billion euros, the article says. Lufthansa said the sum would decrease somewhat, as part of its kerosene was fuelled outside the EU. The Green Deal communication presented by European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen mid-December says “the Commission will look closely at the current tax exemptions including for aviation and maritime fuels and at how best to close any loopholes.” European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans said, “I believe there must be a kerosene tax”, and told Spiegel he would fight for it.

Kerosene remains tax-exempt across Europe but the issue re-surfaced in the wider public debate during and after the 2019 EU parliament election campaign. Leading airlines recently attacked the plans, saying higher duties would do nothing for the environment while reaping “untold economic damage”, Bloomberg reported. Since the EU Energy Tax Directive was revised in 2003, EU member states could have introduced a tax on kerosene. Except for the Netherlands, which has virtually no domestic flights, no country has yet done so, however, EurActiv wrote. In Germany, flight passengers are taxed a small fraction of the ticket price depending on distance travelled, though the government recently decided to increase this tax.

Meanwhile, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) said global aviation passenger numbers would increase to 9.4 billion by 2040 from about 4 billion in 2016. The number of flights will increase from 35.5 million to 53 million in the same period, DLR said in a press release.

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