30. June 2019 

IATA Not Happy About Planned Dutch Air Cargo Tax

The Dutch government’s plans to introduce a new tax on air cargo and air travel has come under some criticism from IATA. Apart from IATA’s criticism, this intended move will surely not help relations between carriers serving Amsterdam Schiphol. There has been quite some unrest during the past months regarding the long-standing aircraft slot issue.

Adding fuel to the fire
As far as the air cargo tax is concerned the Dutch have proposed a charge of €3.85 per ton for cargo carried on so called ‘noisier aircraft.’ Quieter aircraft would be levied with a charge of €1.93 per ton of cargo carried. The proposal from the government watch dogs is to introduce the new charge as of January 1. 2021. Passengers would as of that date also be charged an extra €7 for each departure.
Those carriers which Schiphol determines as noisy carriers and which use mainly older B747 freighters, will surely see this as a further threat to their present or any future operations and will again consider moving to airports such as Liege who would welcome them with opens arms.
The Netherlands would not be the only country who would levy such charges. They already exist in France which charges carriers an estimated €1.33 per ton.
IATA has stated that they would rather see more investment in green technology for the aviation sector instead of the so-called environmental taxes, which are also being levied for passengers in six other European countries. Nobody really seems to know what the airports actually do with the revenues gained by these extra levies. Whether they are channeled into funding additional environmental changes, remains to be seen.

IATA Chief Alexandre die Juniac criticizes the charges on cargo traffic planned by the Dutch government -  photo: hs
IATA Chief Alexandre die Juniac criticizes the charges on cargo traffic planned by the Dutch government – photo: hs

IATA defends the aviation sector
In a recent reaction, IATA’s director general, Alexandre de Juniac is reported as saying that the aviation sector takes the climate change challenge very seriously and that for more than ten years they have set high targets to reduce carbon emissions. Some of these targets have been met, but there is still more to come.
IATA says that the commercial aviation sector accounts for about 2% of the annual global carbon emissions and that they are not convinced that spending environmental taxes on environmental action, really brings anything positive. This view, according to IATA statistics, is also shared by a large amount of the European population.
Mr de Juniac, in a recent statement said that: “Action to encourage new technology and sustainable fuels is the solution. Airlines are taking bold steps to cut emissions. Sensible governments should take practical measures to help and not hinder investment through weakening the industry and trying to make flying a preserve of the rich.”
Will the Dutch government end up taking this view as well or continue to scare off present and future cargo operators to Schiphol?