Air tax aid boosted by 12 nations

Eleven countries have joined France in adopting a new initiative to tax airline tickets and used the proceeds to fight poverty in developing countries. However, the initiative has won limited support, after a two-day conference of representatives from 95 countries discussed the topic.
To-date the air tax will be imposed by: France, Norway, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Brazil, Chile, Congo, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Nicaragua.

Speaking at the conference, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan hailed the initiative, saying it contributed to the international community meeting its commitment under the Millennium Development Goals agreement reached in 2000.

The new tax will add approximately between one and 40 euros ($1 and $48) to the price of an air ticket depending on the distance travelled and the class of seat.

The U.S. opposes the plan, as does the airline industry body IATA and business groups, fearing it would burden carriers already struggling with high oil prices and fierce competition.

Britain will not introduce the tax but plans to reroute money from an existing surcharge on air travel to international development, with a major focus on combating AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in poor countries, especially Africa.