• Flight tax ready for take-off

    Thirteen nations have agreed to sign up to Jacques Chirac’s forthcoming tax on air tickets to help development and fight disease in the developing world.

    The 13 include four EU members (CYP/F/GB/L) and Norway, in what represents a political victory for the French president in the face of severe opposition from airlines. In addition to the 13 who will charge a levy on air tickets, a further 25 opted to contribute to the fund established by the income from the 13 countries’ levies, which will buy generic drugs and other medicines. From 1 July, France will charge an extra €1 on short-haul flights, rising to €4 for long-haul. For business and first class passengers, the levy will be €10 and €40. Chirac hopes to raise €200 million per year. Other countries will decide what their levy will be. The French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told the Reuters news agency: “We are creating something that is completely new and revolutionary. This is a decisive step for aid and development. There are six million people on the planet who need urgent treatment against Aids and don’t get any medicine.” The USA and the International Air Transport Association (Iata) are both opposed to the tax, saying it will make it harder for people to fly to destinations in developing countries and therefore undermine these countries’ economies. The other signatories are Brazil, Chile, Congo, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Madagascar, Mauritius and Nicaragua. This news story is taken from the March 2006 edition of T&E Bulletin.