Sweden's government to introduce flight tax
In Stockholm, the red-green government wants to introduce a tiered flight tax as of next year. A holiday trip to Thailand would then cost about 40 euros more, a trip to London about eight euros more. The idea is to encourage people to use more climate-friendly means of transport. Sweden's commentators are divided in their opinions on this issue.
Polluters must pay
Upsala Nya Tidning sees the proposal as important for climate policy:
“If your car runs on petrol you pay a tax of ten Swedish crowns per liter. But aircraft that run on fossil fuels don't pay a single cent in tax. This is why it makes sense that the government is now proposing a flight tax commencing January 1, 2018. Does anybody really believe it's a coincidence that cars can be powered in a variety of ways while planes are only powered in one way? The previous tax exemption is preventing a necessary change. ... On the one hand air travel is often absurdly cheap, on the other alternative travel is absurdly expensive. ... Flying pollutes the environment, and this should not go unpaid for.”
An ill-considered tax
Svenska Dagbladet, on the other hand, believes the plans are a step in the wrong direction:
“In 2014 a total of 53 million tonnes of carbon dioxide was pumped into the air in Sweden ... The flight tax would reduce this by a mere 0.12 tonnes. ... It's difficult to find alternative means of transport to aircraft for foreign travel. That would mean cancelled meetings and reduced networking. ... A flight tax would be understandable if it were related to concrete harm to the environment but here they aim to tax the journey itself. ... This will result in fewer jobs, decreased competitiveness and a decline in living standards and working conditions in the country. Swedish companies will have to pay, sparsely populated areas will become poorer, Swedish tourists will be penalised.”