Eco-tax ‘will drive away’ low-cost airlines

A number of budget airlines will leave Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport if the new cabinet goes ahead with plans to introduce an eco-tax on airline tickets, the airport’s operational director Ad Rutten told ANP on Thursday.

The tax would add some €24 to the price of a ticket, making Schiphol too expensive for the price-fighters, Rutten said. Dozens of budget airlines have set up operations at Schiphol in recent years and the airport has built a special pier with more basic facilities specially for the no-frills carriers.
Rutten says the cost of using the pier means a saving of about €1 per seat. The eco-tax would remove that advantage immediately, he said. In addition, ‘budget airlines use the most modern, efficient aircraft at times when they cause the least nuisance,’ he said. Budget airlines are also increasingly popular among business travellers, he pointed out.
Rutten was speaking at the presentation of the airport’s 2006 earnings on Thursday. Schiphol, which is to remain in state hands after the new government scrapped plans for a partial flotation, booked a 7.2% increase in net profit last year, excluding property revaluations and a one-off tax break.
Turnover reached €1bn, an increase of 9.4% year-on-year. The number of passengers using the airport was up 4.3% to 46.1 million. Schiphol said new security restrictions on what passengers could take into planes had cost airport shops €1.5m.

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