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Germany Mulls Doubling Air Travel Tax to Tackle Climate Issues



Germany’s Christian Democrats party has proposed doubling taxes on domestic flights in an effort to help reduce CO2 emissions.

A BBC news report says connecting flights that are part of long-haul trips would be exempt from the measure, which would impact the current tax of $8.10 per ticket for domestic flights.

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The suggestion, which was proposed by leaders of the Christian Democrats party, who are part of a coalition that includes the Christian Social Union (CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD).

The proposal also notes that engines not reliant on fossil fuels would exempt from the tax.

“We will invest, together with the aviation industry, to make electric-powered flight standard for short-haul flights and to create synthetic fuel to achieve climate-neutrality on medium- and long-haul flights,” states the proposal, according to the BBC.

The move comes amid growing criticism of the aviation industry’s global contribution to CO2 emissions.

Earlier this year, Responsible Travel issued a manifesto on aviation and climate change calling the aviation industry one of the fastest-growing contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

The manifesto from the travel company also challenged governments around the world to take actions to reduce demand for flying through taxation and other measures.

“As the world focuses in on reducing carbon emissions aviation is getting a free ride,” Justin Francis, CEO Responsible Travel, told TravelPulse in May. “This has to stop if we are to keep global warming below 1.5 percent.”

According to the manifesto, if aviation was a country, it would be the 7th largest emitter of CO2 in the world, just behind Germany. In Europe, Ryanair has become one of the top 10 most carbon polluting businesses.

A 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommended that to limit global temperature rises to no more than 1.5°C, global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 must be 55 percent below 2017 levels.

With the anticipated rise in global air passengers, even the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) predicts that aviation emissions are expected to grow by up to 300 percent by 2050.

“If we are to achieve the necessary global cuts in emissions, the aviation industry cannot rely on other sectors to take on the burden of reductions. Aviation needs to play its part and tackle its own emissions,” states the Responsible Travel’s manifesto.

Responsible Travel has said it does not believe that airlines/carbon-offsets-booming-thanks-to-greta-thunberg.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>carbon offsets, which have become increasingly popular among some travelers thanks to climate change leaders like Greta Thunberg, are an effective means of dealing with the pollution from the airlines” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>aviation industry. Bringing about significant industry change will mean that individuals need to alter their travel habits, and ultimately fly less, according to Responsible Travel.

Germany’s governing coalition is expected to unveil a sweeping climate package later this month, one that may include expanded grants for electric car buyers, encouraged train use and increased taxes for those operating polluting vehicles, said the BBC.

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American Joins Other Airlines in Reducing Flights to NYC



American Airlines has joined at least three other carriers in dramatically reducing its schedule to New York City airports, as the Empire State – now the epicenter of the coronavirus global pandemic – prepares for a likely increase in cases and deaths this week or next.

Starting April 7, American will trim flights out of LaGuardia Airport (LGA), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), reducing service by at least 90 percent at each airport.

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“As coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in New York City and the surrounding region continue to increase, along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for travel to the area, the demand for flights to the New York area is rapidly evaporating,” wrote David Seymour, the senior vice president of American Airlines, in a letter to team members on Sunday.

The airline plans to run its new, temporary schedule through May 6.

With government and health officials saying the apex of the coronavirus is expected sometime this week in New York, American has joined United, JetBlue and Spirit in reducing flights.

The U.S. has more than 308,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 8,400 deaths as of Saturday, April 4. New York City has more than 20 percent of those confirmed cases, 63,300, and just over 1,900 deaths.

American also said it will operate flights only between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, as “turn-only operations with no aircraft or crew remaining overnight.”

Last week, Spirit Airlines suspended service to LGA and EWR, as well as Niagara Falls International Airport, Plattsburg International Airport in upstate New York and Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Conn. JetBlue, which is headquartered in New York City, announced its own cuts to service in a memo to employees.

And on Sunday, United pulled the trigger on reducing flights.

“As the situation in New York and New Jersey worsens, we are taking another major step at Newark and LaGuardia to help keep our employees safe and play our part in helping to mitigate the spread of the outbreak in the Tri-State area,” Greg Hart, United’s executive vice president and chief operations officer, said in the letter to employees.

At Newark, a United hub, the airline is slashing 90 percent of its normal daily flights, going from 139 flights per day that fly to 62 different destinations to 15 daily flights to nine cities. At LaGuardia, United is dropping all but two of its 18 flights per day to four destinations down to two daily flights to just one destination.

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