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Budget airlines may fall victim to climate protection in Germany

Budget airlines may fall victim to climate protection in Germany

The Bavarian sister party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) has proposed new punitive tariffs targeting cheap flights within Europe.

“I want climate protection instead of competitive prices,” Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Alexander Dobrindt told Bild newspaper. The official added that €9 tickets, offered for certain routes by low-cost carriers, “have nothing to do with a market economy” or protecting our planet.

To solve the problem, the CSU simply wants to make air companies pay for their low fares, effectively ruining their business model. In a paper expected to be presented next Tuesday, the party called for a “penalty price tax” to be introduced for flights costing less than €50.

“There needs to be a minimum flight price and rail journeys need a VAT cut,” Dobrind said.

The ecological issue at the core of the CSU’s concerns is growing carbon emissions produced by airlines. One of the targets of the possible new tax, Ryanair, has recently been labeled one of the top 10 worst polluters. The Irish company defended its environmental record, saying that it is Europe’s “greenest and cleanest,” given that their passengers have the lowest CO2 emissions per kilometer.

The CSU’s demands could further hurt people who would bear the costs of the tax, but might do little for the environment, Thomas Jarzombek, CDU politician and federal aviation commissioner, warned. He added that the coalition agreement does not include increasing the taxes.

“It must also be carefully examined whether such a regulation would not lead to aircraft simply flying empty and people with low incomes losing mobility without saving CO2,” he said.

Meanwhile, the German Aviation Association (BDL) said it would not object if lawmakers found “an adequate way to put a stop to uneconomical low prices and artificially inflamed demand,” according to its executive director, Matthias von Randow.