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Belgium introduces tax for flights under 500 kilometres

Belgium introduces tax for flights under 500 kilometres

The tax will affect passengers traveling to some of the biggest transit hubs in Europe, such as London and Frankfurt

On 12 October, during the budget approval process, the Belgian government decided to introduce a short-haul flight tax for passengers. The new tax will affect flights to destinations within 500 kilometres of Brussels. The move is supposed to boost the appeal of other means of transportation, like rail, while helping to cut down on carbon emissions.

From Frankfurt to London

The new tax will be between 4 and 6 euros and it will apply to all passengers flying through a Belgian airport. According to government projections, this should bring in around 30 million euros annually.

At the same time, the destinations that fill into the 500-kilometre radius, considered short-distance flights, are some of the busiest transport hubs in Europe. They include Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London, Stuttgart, Paris, Hamburg, and even Zurich in Switzerland.

The government has yet to announce any official guidelines for airports and airlines, or how it plans to collect the tax, however, Brussels Airlines should be the hardest hit by the measures, as most of their flights operate within that radius.

According to EUROCONTROL, the EU Organisation for Safety of Air Navigation, the carbon emissions produced by air travel have dropped by 56% across the EU, compared to September of 2019. This is, of course, due to the pandemic.  

The sharpest decline happened in Findland (74.7%), Sweden (-74.3%) and Ireland (-71.1%). Meanwhile, the carbon emissions for Belgian based airlines showed a decrease of less than 20%.

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