Ecotax: France Wants to Make Airline Tickets Up to 18 Euros More Expensive

  • Transport Minister Borne called the levy "urgent" as more and more citizens questioned the taxation of air traffic.
  • In 2018, 17% of the energy consumed in France came from renewable energies making it the fourth-largest source of primary energy, after nuclear, petroleum products and gas.
  • In accordance with Emmanuel Macron's program, the government has also initiated a simplification of procedures for the deployment of renewable energies.

Airline tickets in France will become more expensive in the future and such revenue will be invested in rail infrastructure. This eco-tax applies from 2020, but certain air connections are excluded.

France will introduce an eco-tax on airline tickets from next year. The tax will be 1.50 € and 18 € per ticket, Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne announced. The government expects a revenue of more than 180 million euros annually.

According to Bornes, almost all flights departing from France are affected. Exceptions should be made for transfer connections that go via France. Flights to Corsica (a Mediterranean island) and to French overseas territories are also excluded.

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For all other domestic and intra-European flights, according to the Minister, Economy Class tickets will be charged € 1.50. The environmental tax for a business class ticket should be nine euros. Airline tickets to destinations outside Europe are taxed at three euros in Economy Class and eighteen euros in Business Class.

Transport Minister Borne called the levy “urgent” as more and more citizens questioned the taxation of air traffic. The measure was adopted by an Environment Council chaired by President Emmanuel Macron and is to be enshrined in the Budget Law for 2020.

Belgium has proposed a Europe-wide levy on airline tickets to combat global warming, and the Netherlands is also supporting the plan.

The German Federal Environmental Agency has been calling to delete the indirect subsidies for air traffic for a long time. International flights are also exempt from the VAT.

Renewable energies used in France

In 2018, 17% of the energy consumed in France came from renewable energies making it the fourth-largest source of primary energy, after nuclear, petroleum products and gas. A growth trajectory was set in 2015 by the energy transition law, passed under the Hollande presidency. The plan was to reach 23% in 2023 and 32% in 2030. The development of these energies is largely dependent on support from the state because investments are heavy and not necessarily profitable in the short term if market laws are applied.

Wind power or wind energy is the use of air flow through wind turbines to provide the mechanical power to turn electric generators and traditionally to do other work, like milling or pumping. Wind power is a sustainable and renewable alternative to burning fossil fuels, and has much less effect on the environment.

The French government has taken over the objectives of the renewable energy transition law in its roadmap presented in autumn 2018. It plans to spend 71 billion euros on the period 2019-2028, including 20 billion euros on new projects. This will increase from 5 billion to 8 billion euros annually to support renewable electricity, with a priority given to solar and wind energy.

In accordance with Emmanuel Macron’s program, the government has also initiated a simplification of procedures for the deployment of renewable energies.

French Wind energy

Wind power supplies are only 4% of French electricity. France has 6,500 wind turbines but only one wind turbine at sea, which has been floating since September 2018. This delay is due to the lengthy installation times of wind turbines (seven to eight years, compared to two to four years in some European countries), partly related to regulatory burdens and potential challenges. Some wind projects are criticized for nuisances and their impact on biodiversity.

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Aiden Adams

Aiden Adamms is a longtime journalist and broadcaster. He worked for Radio and TV in newsrooms across Austria as a national reporter, producer, and host.


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