Germany plans to nearly double taxes on short-haul flights

BERLIN (Reuters) - Berlin plans to almost double taxes on short-haul flights under Germany’s emissions cutting programme, an official at the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday, a bigger increase than expected.

The tax hikes form part of a climate package in Germany aimed making the country carbon neutral by the year 2050 and are accompanied by measures to promote public transport use.

Climate activists and industry groups had criticized the plans as not going far enough to achieve Germany’s 2050 emissions goal.

The official said the tax on domestic and intra-European flights would rise to 13.03 euros from 7.50 euros, while for medium-haul flights it would rise to 33.01 euros from 23.43 and for long-haul flights to 59.43 from 42.18 euros.

The government had planned smaller increases as recently as earlier this month, a draft law seen by Reuters showed.

The finance ministry official said that Germany could expect an additional tax take of around 740 million euros ($813.70 million) once the new taxes come into force in April. The proceeds will mainly be used to finance tax relief on train tickets.

The German government agreed that short-haul flights, particularly heavy in CO2 emissions, should be taxed more heavily in proportion to underlying ticket prices than longer flights, the official said.

Under the latest version of the plans, value-added tax on train tickets will fall from 19% to 7% from January 1, 2020, making tickets around 10% cheaper.

Reporting by Holger Hansen, writing by Tassilo Hummel, editing by Thomas Escritt and Jane Merriman