‘Climate-damaging air traffic steals its responsibility’

The environmental associations German Federal Agency for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND), the German Transport Association (VCD) and the German Association for the Protection of the Environment (DNR) have welcomed the proposal of Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze to raise the aviation tax as an urgently overdue step. ‘The particularly climate-damaging air traffic should no longer steal its responsibility, but must finally make its contribution to climate protection. If politics takes the student protests of Fridays for Future really serious, then now must take concrete steps,’ said DNR President Kai Niebert. As a short-term action, the national aviation tax should be increased.

The associations have been working for many years to finally transfer short-haul flights to the more environmentally friendly rail. “It is unacceptable that flights within Germany continue to be cheaper than train tickets,” says Ernst-Christoph Stolper, Deputy Chairman of the BUND. ‘The federal government must ensure that domestic flights in the year 2030 are a thing of the past’.

According to the associations, kerosene must finally be taxed. ‘It can not be that just the most polluting mode of transport is not taxed, from the tax exemption on kerosene to the lack of VAT on air tickets abroad. This is a distortion of competition to the detriment of the environment and disadvantaged the climate-friendly railway,’ said VCD chairman Kerstin Haarmann. Subsidies for climate-damaging air traffic amount to more than 12 billion euros annually in Germany alone. This is offset by the previous aviation tax on airline tickets only about 1 billion euros in tax revenue.

An international regulation on air traffic taxation makes the most sense in the association’s view, but it would take a long time. Therefore, the opportunity should now be taken to increase air traffic tax.