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Mon, Aug 21, 2023

Belgium Proposes Taxation of Aviation Fuel-Airline Tickets

The Road to Nowhere

Seeking, ostensibly, to address environmental impact, Belgian authorities are making ready to propose a European aviation tax on fuel and airline tickets.

According E.U. news-outlets, the move, put forward during a meeting of the European Union’s Parliament, aims for what its authors call “fair pricing of air travel’s ecological effects.”

A similar proposal was formerly introduced by the Netherlands.

The Belgian initiative is set to be discussed during an upcoming meeting of the E.U.’s Council of Environment Ministers.

The impetus behind the controversial proposal is ascribed, in part, to new Flemish Minister for the Environment, Koen Van den Heuvel.

In a communication distributed to fellow European Union members, the Belgian delegation advocated for the implementation of a “fair and equitable pricing framework for air transportation in view of its environmental impact.”

The Belgian delegation’s communique emphasized the lack of taxation on aviation fuel and Value-Added Tax (VAT) on airline tickets.

Value-added tax is a consumption tax on goods and services. Such taxes are levied at each stage of the supply—from initial production to point of sale—at which value is added. The amount of VAT users pay is based on the cost of the taxed product minus the costs of materials innate to subject product formerly taxed at a previous stage of the supply chain.

In 2022, Dutch authorities declared they would increase taxes on airplane tickets starting in 2023. The announcement occasioned the penning and proliferation of media reports alleging the “Netherlands Dutch State Tax,” which applies to travelers departing the Netherlands, would surge by over €30, from €7.95 to €28.58.

Dutch authorities obtusely asserted passengers would forgo convenience and safety  and choose, instead, so-called eco-friendly means of transport—such as bicycling from Amsterdam or The Hague to Rome or Mumbai, perhaps.

2022 also saw Belgian authorities set forth they would—as part of governmental efforts to minimize air and noise pollution—introduce new taxes on private jets and commercial aircraft. The proposed taxation was to have been implemented on 01 April 2023.  

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of Transport Georges Gilkinet stated: “The noise pollution experienced by residents near Brussels National Airport, whether they live in Flanders, Brussels or Wallonia, cannot remain as it is.”

Speaking to the subject of private jets, Gilkinet intimated the CO2 emissions per-passenger of such aircraft justified fees based on aircrafts’ ages and the time (of day) of the flight. At the time of Gilkinet’s ramblings the Belgian government aspired to discourage night arrivals and departures of private aircraft.

The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) contends business aviation accounts for a total of 12-percent of total aviation activities within Belgium.

The Belgian posturing vis-à-vis the taxation of aviation fuel and airline tickets echoed, eerily, a similar initiative formerly promulgated by French Environmental Minister Christophe Bechu, who stressed his government was in favor of implementing such measures prior to the end of 2023.

FMI: www.belgium.be/en

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