The Belgian government has introduced a new tax fee for short trips, requiring travelers who take these flights for destinations less than 500 kilometers to pay a flight tax of 4 to 6 euros.
The decision came after national budget approval, and is aimed at encouraging Belgians and other travelers to opt for alternative travel, as the country proactively reduces carbon emissions on its flights. The total of these fees is expected to generate €30 million in revenue for Belgium each year, TheSchengen.com reports.
According to aviation24, the Belgian aviation media website, passengers flying to the following destinations can expect the newly introduced aviation tax:
London, UK Amsterdam, Netherlands Frankfurt, Hamburg and Stuttgart, Germany Paris and Strasbourg, France Basel, Switzerland
Moreover, according to EUROCONTROL, the European Union’s regulator for the safety of air navigation, carbon emissions statistics have fallen by 56 percent across EU member states, compared to September 2019, when no entry rules and travel restrictions were imposed on passengers.
This means that during the pandemic, carbon emissions from flights have been halved in almost all European countries, with the largest decreases being recorded in Finland (-74.7 percent), Sweden (-73.3 percent), the United Kingdom and Ireland (-71.1 percent cents). .
However, EUROCONTROL data does not show a positive result for Belgium, as carbon emissions from flights operated by Belgian airlines showed a decrease of less than 20 percent in September this year compared to the same period in 2019. Moreover, carbon emissions in Belgium is even lower than some third-country statistics, such as Albania, which last month recorded 24.5 percent of its carbon emissions from air travel.
On the other hand, EUROCONTROL reveals that EU air traffic is gradually recovering as the 27-nation bloc has seen more travel, and flight reservations are made during the summer season. However, compared to September 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic spread and entry rules and travel restrictions were non-existent, air traffic in the European Union was halted by 29.1 per cent.
EUROCONTROL data for May 2021 shows that EU air traffic is down 61 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. The organization also reveals that from 22 to 29 September, 23,208 flights were operated across EU member states.
As previously reported by TheSchengen.com, EUROCONTROL remains faithful to the scenario that travel will return fully in 2024, an increase of 105 percent over 2019, if the vaccination campaigns are fully implemented.
The organization has published three possible scenarios related to air traffic in the European Union. The first scenario predicts a recovery of air traffic in 2024 if the entire EU population is vaccinated by the end of 2021, while the second scenario predicts a recovery in 2025 if vaccination is widespread by 2022. The third scenario predicts that air traffic will recover in 2029 as European countries will remain vulnerable to repeated waves of COVID-19 infections.