Flights of fancy

Oh boy, what a lot of bright sparks there must be in the transport ministry.

For a year the ministry closed its ears to claims that the government’s plans to bring in a new tax on flying would hurt Schiphol airport.
And now, with passenger numbers plunging, the ministry sets up a working party to look into why Schiphol is the second most expensive airport in Europe.
Perhaps because no-one else charges people an extra €45 per ticket for flying over 2,500km?
The new flight tax was originally presented as an environmental measure. The idea, said ministers, was to make passengers more aware of the cost of flying.
And it seems to have done the trick. Passengers are so shocked by the higher cost of tickets that they are nipping over the border to cheaper airports in Belgium and Germany.
And of course, it quickly emerged that there is no guarantee that the money the tax generates will be spent on improving the environment anyway.
All it does is give the treasury a nice fat extra €350m a year.
The label ‘eco-tax’ was quietly dropped. And if the government wants to make sure that Schiphol’s position as a leading European hub is not threatened, the actual tax itself should be quietly dropped as well.

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