Germanwings fears impact on jobs from the planned travel tax
Thursday 22, July 2010
Low-cost airline Germanwings has voiced its concerns over the planned travel tax, a draft version of which was published last week by the German government.
The draft bill envisages a tax of 13 euros per person for short and medium-haul flights and 26 euros for long-haul flights for passengers travelling out of Germany.
Thomas Winkelmann, CEO of Germanwings, comments: "At this amount, the tax is anti-ecological, anti-social and will lead to a reduction in jobs. The planned law is nonsense and unjust, the ecological aspect is missing, the reason for its introduction is a farce."
Although the draft law has been purported as “setting incentives for environmentally friendly conduct and taking ecological considerations into account", it does not contain any procedures for this. For example, in the current draft, private flyers are exempt from the tax. Under the new bill, a family of four, travelling from Stuttgart to Rostock/Laage for a holiday on the coast, would pay an additional 104 euros in taxes, "A scandal, as the average household has to pay and the passenger in a private jet is exempt," explains Thomas Winkelmann.
"We also fear that the new tax will displace traffic onto the roads to a massive extent," Winkelmann continues. "The flat-rate tax of 13 euros or 26 euros, depending on the destination country, does not give the airlines an incentive to use modern and more fuel-efficient aircraft. It cannot be the case that it is irrelevant from an ecological perspective whether to fly in a new and efficient or old and decrepit aircraft," says Winkelmann.
Connecting passengers will not be included in the tax. Passengers flying from Hamburg via Frankfurt to Tel Aviv will pay 13 euros once only. Passengers flying from Cologne direct to Tel Aviv will pay 26 euros. The low-cost airline fears that large numbers of customers will change to airports close to the border in neighbouring countries and Germany's regional airports will be at a considerable disadvantage as a result of the German government's tax plans. The airports in North-Rhine Westphalia and in Baden-Wurttemberg, in particular, will see massive emigration into neighbouring countries. The result: non-German carriers will take market share from German airlines. Above all, the aviation tax will have a considerable impact on the jobs situation for airports in Germany.
"Above all, this tax will damage German airlines and airports," explains Winkelmann.
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