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  • French carrier Air France claimed the measure would significantly penalize its competitiveness.

    French carrier Air France claimed the measure would significantly penalize its competitiveness. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 July 2019

It will only be applied on outgoing flights and not those flying into the country

The French government is to impose a tax of up to 18 euros (US$20) on plane tickets for all flights from airports in France to fund less-polluting transportation projects, a minister said Tuesday.

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The move, which will take effect from 2020, will see a tax of 1.5 euros imposed on economy-class tickets on internal flights and those within Europe, with the highest tariff applied to business-class travelers flying outside the bloc, Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said.

The new measure is expected to bring in some 182 million euros a year which will be invested in greener transport infrastructures, notably rail, she said.

It will only be applied on outgoing flights and not those flying into the country, Borne added.

A similar tax was introduced in Sweden in April 2018, which imposed an added charge of up to 40 euros on every ticket in a bid to lessen the impact of air travel on the climate.

However, the measure will likely not appease environmental groups in the country, as France's president is still taking heat from environmentalists, who accuse him of not living up to his promise to "Make Our Planet Great Again."

Social media users have stressed the hypocrisy of raising taxes on planes while dismantling the public railway service in recent months. SNCF rail workers have been carrying out rolling strikes since April over plans to reform the company and open it to the competition. 

A similar tax on diesel vehicles also sparked the "yellow vests" movement in November. The tax was officially implemented in a bid to fight climate change, but media reports later revealed that out of the US$42.8 billion generated to the public budget by the new tax, only US$9.5 billion (about one fifth) will be reallocated to the environment.

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