The French government announced that it will roll out a tax on all international flights departing from France starting in 2020. The small tax will generate a predicted $200 million USD in revenue every year that the government will invest into cleaner transportation technology and infrastructure.
A spokesperson from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) dismissed the utility of the tax, stating, “National taxes will do nothing to assist the aviation industry in its sustainability efforts.” Instead, the spokesperson, Anthony Concil, recommended national governments should help airline corporations invest in cleaner fuels and more advanced technology. In fact, shares in AirFrance, Ryan Air and EasyJet all went down after the announcement was made.
On the other side of the coin, environmental activists are somewhat content that the announcement is at least a step in the right direction and a nod to the role the transportation industry will have to play. According to Andrew Murphy from Brussels-based Transport and Environment, “This alone won’t do much, but at least it’s a recognition by the French government that more is required.”
Germany, Italy and England already have similar eco taxes. In England, the additional fee can be up to $214 USD, and it generates a total of $3.7 billion USD annually. Other European countries are also looking to reverse a longstanding tax break for airline fuel that effectively subsidizes the industry’s use of fossil fuels and misses a significant opportunity for government tax revenue.