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U.S. Airlines challenge German departure tax

U.S. Airlines challenge German departure tax

Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today filed an initial legal complaint to reject the German Air Transport Tax, which illegally penalizes carriers serving the country by taxing U.S. airlines the maximum amount of 45 euros (US$59) per passenger.

The exorbitant tax, which went into effect in January 2011, charges airlines with U.S. flights the highest of three tax brackets imposed by the scheme. While A4A and its members have complied with the tax under protest, they now are pursuing legal action because the tax violates several long-standing international agreements, including the Chicago Convention, the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement and the German Constitution.

A4A facilitated the filing of the legal complaint with the German Fiscal Court in Kassel and issued the following statement:
“Germany cannot arbitrarily close its budget gap on the backs of the U.S. airlines and their passengers who already pay taxes at excessive rates. This is a short-sighted cash grab that will do more harm to the German economy than any short-term benefit that the tax revenue may bring the country’s coffers.”

A4A will file a detailed complaint with the German Fiscal Court within the next two months at the same time it urges a referral of the case to the German Federal Constitution Court.