Ryanair CEO lashes out at Dutch government plans to nearly triple air passenger tax
Discount airline Ryanair issued a statement slamming the Dutch Cabinet after reports surfaced that that a higher airline passenger tax will be introduced, which could entice people to take more sustainable options, like the train. The company referred to the situation as "skyway robbery," while saying it lacks logic, and that the Dutch claims are "fake" because they will not contribute to making the environment better.
Undisclosed sources close to the Cabinet told De Telegraaf earlier this week that the air passenger tax will amount to almost 30 euros per ticket, 3.5 times the fee that currently applies. Connecting passengers would be excluded from the measure. Ryanair accuses that of being a disguised method to protect the national airline, KLM.
It is "inexplicable" that the tax exempts "KLM's most polluting passengers, who are taking connecting flights through Schiphol," said Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary. He added that KLM's connecting passengers often continue through Schiphol on another KLM flight. O'Leary said it makes no sense that the Dutch government wants to impose the tax only on people who travel from Point A to Point B with the Netherlands as an origin or destination, alleging that transiting passengers are responsible for "more than double the eco emissions" by comparison.
"Clearly the Dutch Govt should study an 'Environment for Dummies' book," the company said in a statement.
According to Ryanair, the tax increase will do nothing for the environment, but will "but will irreparably damage Dutch tourism and regional airports, like Eindhoven and Maastricht, by making them even more expensive than EU competitor airports, as well as costing thousands of jobs at Dutch airports."
On Thursday, easyJet also questioned the expected measure. A spokesperson told the Volkskrant that it was hard to comprehend why someone taking up more space on an aircraft by traveling in first class from a destination like Australia, pays the same fee as someone flying in economy class from a closer location, such as Madrid.
The British budget fighter also argued that at least half of the revenue from the tax must be used to support sustainability initiatives in the aviation sector.
Greenpeace Netherlands said it was "inevitable" that the price of airline tickets will go up. "The real price of airline tickets is still much higher, because it does not include the cost of air pollution, noise disturbance and climate. What we find unacceptable is that transferring passengers are exempt from this ticket tax. And that the wealthy passengers of small private jets also do not have to pay the tax," Greenpeace said.
Reporting by ANP