Plans by the local faction of leftwing political party GroenLinks to tax the regional airport reportedly came as a surprise to the management at Groningen Airport Eelde.
Translation by Traci White
The proposal to start charging flight taxes on all flights from the Drenthe-based airport is part of the party’s platform for municipal elections this autumn. Dagblad van het Noordenreports that the party hopes a regional tax would decrease noise and air pollution because of fewer passengers choosing to fly from Eelde if it becomes more expensive.
Bowy Odink, the commercial manager at Groningen Airport Eelde, says that the announcement came as a surprise. “There are already plans for implementing a national flight tax, and European-level taxes are also being discussed already.”
The Dutch government is considering applying a 3.80 euro service charge for flights within Europe and 22 euros for flights to destinations outside of Europe. The United Kingdom and Italy have recently begun applying similar passenger and luxury taxes to air travel.
Odink told the Dagblad that he understands the necessity for implementing a tax on airplane tickets, but unless it is applied on a Europe-wide scale, regional airports in particular will likely suffer. Eelde regularly runs promotions for cheap flights to its destinations, especially London: the airport has offered tickets as cheap as 15 euros to London and flights to Munich and Copenhagen for 56 euros.
Glimina Chakor, the top candidate for GroenLinks in the upcoming local elections, has called upon the five regional governments that serve as shareholders for the airport to get behind a regional aviation tax. Chakor says that as Eelde increasingly becomes a hub and continually adds new destinations, its noise and air pollution are also growing.
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