Germany to increase climate tax on air travel by up to 75% in 2020

Oct 17, 2019

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Germany is set to introduce additional government-imposed taxes on air travel from April 2020 in a climate change push to encourage travellers to use trains rather than planes.

The taxes will depend on the length of the flight and will be especially noticeable on short-haul flights, such as those between the U.K. and Germany. The charges are as follows:

  • Domestic German and intra-European flights to and from Germany — increasing 75% from €7.50 (£6.47) to €13.03 (£11.24)
  • Mid-haul flights to and from Germany — increasing from €23.43 (£20.22) to €33.01 (£28.50)
  • Long-haul flights to and from Germany — increasing from €42.18 (£36.44) to €59.43 (£51.35)

The practice of dumping excess capacity by selling seats below cost will be outlawed completely. This may see result in fewer sale fares from low-cost carriers like Ryanair, which regularly sells European flights from as low as £5 per seat.

Ryanair has previously spoken out against Germany’s CO2 reduction plan, saying it will feel the brunt of the increased taxes far more as a low-cost, short-haul carrier. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has described Ryanair’s cheap sale fares as “economically and ecologically irresponsible”.

What does this mean for travellers in the U.K.? From April 2020, if you are planning to fly to, from or via Germany, you can expect the cost of your ticket to rise. This will apply to both cash fares and points redemptions, as the taxes are government-imposed and each carrier must pass the cost on to the traveller. For a £1,000 Lufthansa long-haul flight, the increase may be negligible. But ultra low-cost fares may increase sharply in price. The announcement that the new taxes will not be charged until April 2020 allows airlines to adjust their pricing accordingly and give travellers fair warning of the increased costs.

While domestic air travel is slightly declining year on year, Skift reports that demand for international air travel from Germany is steadily increasing. To further encourage travellers to switch from planes to trains, taxes on rail tickets in Germany will decrease from 19% to just 7%.

Featured image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy

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