KLM CEO Rintel: Politicians tell fairy tales about no tax on flying

“You can buy a ticket to Budapest for about 180 euros. Today, about 60 percent of that amount consists of taxes, and soon it will be 75 percent. Yet in Europe we still see politicians telling this fairy tale of no taxes in aviation,” said the KLM CEO.

“Moreover, the income they (politicians, ed.) get from aviation is never spent on accelerating sustainability efforts. Meanwhile, airlines not only pay those taxes, but also spend billions on fleet renewal and other initiatives.”

Aviation News has checked Rintel’s claim, and it is indeed correct, provided you include both government taxes and airport fees and assume she means a return ticket. Then indeed almost 60 percent of those 180 euros consists of taxes.

This includes the Hungarian and Dutch flight taxes, the passenger service surcharge at Schiphol and the security surcharges for both Schiphol and Budapest airport. The latter surcharges pay for security and infrastructure costs.

Added together, these taxes amount to more than 105 euros on a return ticket from Schiphol to Budapest. Of the 180 euros that consumers pay, barely 75 euros goes to KLM itself. The airline then pays the salaries, kerosene, aircraft costs, and so on.

However, this is a relatively ‘favourable’ example to make this point, because both the Netherlands and Hungary are among the countries with the highest aviation taxes in the European Union. In addition, relatively less tax is paid on longer or more expensive flights.

Soon 75 percent?
By saying that it will “soon be 75 percent”, Rintel means that European airlines will have to gradually pay more and more taxes on CO2 emissions from intra-European flights from next year. This will be done by phasing out free aviation emission allowances.