When governments need new ways to create quick and easy cash, they’ll often invent new taxes and fees. Take for example the German government – when they needed a way to close some gaps in their budget, they invented the “Ecological air travel fee”.
Disguised as a “green fund” and taking effect on January 1, 2011, passengers departing Germany will be expected to pay €8, €25 or €40, depending on the length of their flight. This means that a family of four, flying from Germany to the United States, will be charged €160 ($208) in addition to all the normal departure taxes, security fees and fuel surcharges.
Add to this the recent U.S. Tourism Promotion Fee, and you are quickly looking at $260 in fees before you even board the plane.
Of course, German airlines are not thrilled – and are rightfully worried that passengers will stop using Germany as a transit country, opting for stops in neighboring countries instead. Some passengers may even fly to countries like Holland or France and take a train to Germany.
Naturally, the government does not expect that airlines will suffer from the new tax. The fee is expected to raise €1 billion ($1.3 billion) annually.