Germany aims to introduce air ticket price floor, finance minister says

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BERLIN, May 12 (Reuters) - Germany is working on proposals to set minimum fares for air tickets in a bid to tempt passengers onto less environmentally harmful forms of transport, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday.

Scholz, his Social Democrat (SPD) party's candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as Chancellor after September's elections, said tickets should in future cost 50 to 60 euros at a minimum.

Until air travel collapsed at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, cheap flights offered by Easyjet (EZJ.L), Ryanair (RYA.I) and Lufthansa's (LHAG.DE) Eurowings subsidiary often dramatically undercut rail offerings from Deutsche Bahn(DBN.UL), the state-owned railway.

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"No flight should be cheaper than the airport fees and all other fees that it incurs," he told broadcaster Pro 7 in a campaign interview, adding that the government was investigating how this could be done in compliance with European Union law.

The SPD is running a distant third behind the Greens, and Merkel's conservatives in polls, with the Greens increasingly seen as the party to beat after a string of unseasonable winters and summers propelled climate fears up voters' agendas.

With Merkel not running in September's election, the race to succeed her is wider open than at any time since she took office almost 16 years ago.

Earlier this month, Germany's top court ruled that a 2019 climate change law did not go far enough in safeguarding younger generations' rights in the face of climate change and had to be further tightened.

That law already relied on dramatic growth in rail travel to help cut Germany's greenhouse gas emissions.

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Reporting by Christian Krämer, writing by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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