Germany debates increasing air fares through aviation tax

Germany debates increasing air fares through aviation tax

Flying in Germany looks set to get more expensive in the near future: in a bid to cut CO2 emissions, Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze is proposing that aviation taxes be increased to push up the cost of airfares. 

Schulze: flying should cost more than the train

Schulze (SPD) is proposing to increase taxes on airfares in Germany as part of a more comprehensive climate protection package. “I am of the opinion that air traffic also has to bear the costs of greenhouse gas emissions and that this has to be reflected in the airfares,” Schulze said in an interview with the Rheinische Post newspaper. “That’s why we also need a fair carbon price in air-traffic.” 

While noting that a Europe-wide approach would be the best way to go about this, she added that Germany cannot wait to reach an agreement at EU level. “I am therefore in favour of increasing the German aviation tax in the first instance,” she said. “It cannot be that on certain routes it costs less to fly than to travel by train.” 

Aviation taxes in Germany

A similar approach is already being taken by Germany’s neighbour, France, whose government has elected to introduce an eco-tax on airline tickets from 2020. The tax will be somewhere between 1,50 and 18 euros per ticket. 

Currently, aviation tax is only levied on passenger aircrafts in German airports. According to figures from the Federal Ministry of Finance, this tax is intended to incentivise more environmentally-friendly behaviour (for instance, choosing alternative forms of transport) and generates annual revenues of around one billion euros. 

Proposal debated by climate cabinet

Schulze’s proposal will be debated by the so-called Climate Cabinet, along with a range of other potential measures including the controversial carbon tax, subsidy programmes and regulatory laws. 

The federal government intends to put together a package of legislation that will aim to get Germany back on track with its climate protection targets. This should be finalised by September at the latest. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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