The Danish government is set to introduce new aviation taxes for passengers in a move it says will raise funds for the transition to greener air travel, helping to bring about the first completely green-fuelled domestic route in Denmark by 2025.
Sliding scale, split priorities
From 2025, flyers will pay the tax on a sliding scale, depending on how far they travel and when. Three different categories of flight have been touted. While they are not yet defined, “within Europe” could be Paris, according to the proposal. The example for “Medium” is New York and “long distance” is exemplified by Bangkok.
In the first three years of the plan, the tax will average around 70 kroner per flight, but will go up to around 85 kroner after that, and will hit around 100 kroner (13.40 euros) in 2030.
The initiative is eventually expected to raise 1.2 billion kroner per year, of which the government has earmarked around half for the subsidised development and growth of green aviation fuels by the end of the decade. Through the scheme, state support will be made available to sustainable power solutions, such as the renewable energy conversion method known as “power-to-X”, as well as bio fuels and hydrogen technology.
In the initial phases of the strategy however, only about a third of the money raised will go to aviation and green industries, with the remainder destined to boost pension payments for less well-off older people – something tax minister Jeppe Bruus said on Thursday would mean ”two good causes” could get something out of the arrangement.
But the split in priorities has caused criticism to be levelled at the policy. Jens Meilvang, transport spokesperson for the generally anti-taxation Liberal Alliance, told TV2, “It’s being sold as if it’s being done for green transition. Now money is being taken out of the industry.” Meilvang urged the government to ensure all the money gained from aviation should be ploughed back into the source. “All the money should be given back to the sector so they can switch [to green energy] because it’s expensive,” he said.
If we are to have an airline ticket tax, and we should, the money must go back to the industry. All the revenue must go back into the industry.Samira Nawa, Social Liberal, told Ritzau
I mandags var der skattelettelser for milliarder. I dag listes en ny “grøn” flyafgift ind – blandt andet for at finansiere ældrechecks, der vist ikke har meget med grøn omstilling at gøre.— Liberal Alliance (@LiberalAlliance) November 9, 2023
Kan regeringen finde ud af, om danskerne må beholde deres nye skattelettelse eller ej? pic.twitter.com/VD1UtxAbUk
Copenhagen airport too has weighed in, agreeing that a green transition is needed but that aviation will need the majority of the money and not just a portion of it, to make real change happen. It urged the government to work more closely with the Aviation Climate Partnership.
Though a range of opposition parties have found something to dislike in the plan, Denmark’s majority government is likely to push through. “The aviation sector in Denmark must – just like all other industries – reduce its climate footprint and move towards a green future,” the country’s Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, Lars Aagaard, commented in a press statement.