Should Finland introduce a flight tax?

In Finland a citizens' initiative for the introduction of a flight tax aimed at mitigating carbon emissions has gathered more than 50,000 signatures, meaning that it must now be considered in parliament. There is no majority for the move, however. Finnish media also voice doubts and propose alternatives.

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Karjalainen (FI) /

Tax would hurt rural areas

The daily Karjalainen, which is based in North Karelia in eastern Finland, fears the flight tax could harm the economy in Finland's sparsely populated regions:

“A flight tax would represent a burden for North Karelia. More expensive airfares would reduce air travel. ... International connections from the region to the rest of the world would deteriorate. ... A well-functioning air transport sector plays a significant role in the basic conditions of the regional economy and even affects the setting up of new companies in the region. On the other hand, there are many business and private travellers who would be able to pay a little more. In Finland you can voluntarily offset your flight emissions. It's just that not enough people are aware of this option.”

Keskisuomalainen (FI) /

Start with VAT

Air traffic should first of all be taxed like any other service, demands Keskisuomalainen:

“International air traffic is completely tax-free. The airlines pay neither fuel tax nor VAT. Airline ticket prices don't include VAT either. A ticket from Finland to another country is therefore 24 percent cheaper than other goods or services which are subject to normal taxes. ... A flight tax is intended to reduce the emissions caused by flying. ... But real change begins with VAT. Air traffic should be subject to the standard 24 percent VAT. In addition, all the usual taxes and fuel taxes should be levied in the air transport sector. And after that, a flight tax can be added too.”