The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has added its voice to the chorus of disapproval following the announcement of a new departure tax by the German government.
Environmental concerns are being loosely cited by German officials as the motivation for the new tax.
Already branded a “black day” for aviation by Lufthansa chief executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber, the IATA has called the decision “short-sighted” and “irresponsible”.
IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani highlighted three major concerns with the German proposal, saying: “It is the wrong measure at the wrong time; and it ignores the lessons learned from the failure of a similar tax in the Netherlands.”
At present few details have been established, but German chancellor Angela Merkel has confirmed the new departure tax would contribute €1 billion this year to proposed budget savings of €80 billion in the period to 2014.
The tax is expected to be repealed in 2012, when airlines will be forced to buy permits to offset their carbon emissions.
Wrong Time, Wrong Measure
Mr Mayrhuber explained: “Climate change is a global issue. The solution requires a global approach, not uncoordinated regional taxes.
“What will this do for the environment? Absolutely nothing.”
He continued: “Airlines have an important role in driving economic growth, particularly as we struggle to recover from the recession.
“This is not the time to burden the aviation industry with more taxes.”
European GDP growth is expected to be 0.9 per cent this year—the lowest among the world’s major regions.
Finally, Mr Mayrhuber accused the German government of failing to learn the lessons of the past, citing a decision by the Dutch government raise €300 million with a similar tax.
The overall impact of the scheme cost the Dutch economy €1.2 billion in lost business claims the IATA, while also failing as an environmental measure, sending travellers across the border to start their journey from more tax-sensible regimes.
The IATA has also been critical of Air Passenger Duty in the United Kingdom.
Chairman Antony Tyler recently told delegates at the annual WTTC Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Beijing the governments around the world could no longer use aviation as a “cash cow”.