Austria changes terms of new air-passenger tax

The Austrian Finance Ministry has softened conditions for collecting a special tax on airline tickets after protests by local carriers. The fears of a possible outflow of passengers from Vienna Airport to MR Štefánik Airport in Bratislava (BTS) might also have played a role.

The Austrian Finance Ministry has softened conditions for collecting a special tax on airline tickets after protests by local carriers. The fears of a possible outflow of passengers from Vienna Airport to MR Štefánik Airport in Bratislava (BTS) might also have played a role.

The Austrian Government delayed the launch of collecting €8 for short-haul passengers, €20 for medium haul and €35 for long-distance travellers from January 1 to April 1 of next year. It also re-classified several countries into the lowest-fare group, including flights from Vienna to Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. The special tax on tickets should bring in about €60 million in 2011, the e-TREND financial news website wrote on December 7.

Both the original proposal and the amended final decision have faced strong opposition. National carrier Austrian Airlines Group called it economic nonsense; and the majority stakeholder in low-cost carrier FlyNiki labelled it stupidity and would not rule out transferring some of the company’s flights to Bratislava Airport.

Opponents of the fees have pointed to what they say have been the negative experiences of other countries imposing a similar tax, for instance the Netherlands, where the move brought in an additional €300 million but reduced the country’s attractiveness as a tourist destination and resulted in billions in losses for the whole industry. As a result, the tax was eventually cancelled.

In Austria an outflow of customers to the benefit of Bratislava is now expected, mainly affecting charter and low-cost flights.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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