Controversy surrounding the new “Belgian embarkation tax”. This tax was announced last fall and then only confirmed by the Belgian government on March 24, 2022 before coming into effect last Friday, reports air journal† This “boarding tax” amounts to 10 euros for all flights with a destination less than 500 km as the crow flies from the busiest Belgian airport in the country (Brussels-Zaventem); 2 euros for flights of more than 500 km to the European Economic Area, the United Kingdom or Switzerland; and 4 euros for destinations over 500 km and outside these European countries (ie long-haul flights), it is specified.
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The introduction of the tax, based on the date of the flight and not on the date of reservation, is not to the liking of the airlines Brussels Airlines, TUI Fly Belgium and Air Belgium, as well as the Belgian Air Transport Association (BATA). They express all their concerns. According to the explanation of Zaventem spokesperson Nathalie Pierard on 1 April on RTBF“Travellers departing today, tomorrow and the next few days have already booked for some time. Airlines cannot, of course, collect this difference in amount, this tax, from passengers who have already booked, who have already paid.” But the reality is very different. Low-cost Ryanair customers claim to have received an email requesting payment of the tax (the amount depends on their destination). The company explains that “even if a passenger has booked their flight for March 25, we have to pay this tax to the Belgian government,” we read in the correspondence.
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In an interview on Routesonline, said Peter Gerber, CEO of Brussels Airlines “understand that many countries in Europe have higher taxes, but this is being introduced during what is still the worst crisis the airline industry has ever seen”, and “not in a professional way”. The IATA, for its part, criticized the timing of the Belgian entry tax. The release “on such short notice is a blow to airlines that are slowly recovering from the pandemic,” she said. This new tax will bring in more than 5 million euros per year for Charleroi airport alone, Adrien Dolimont, the Walloon Minister for Airports, estimated in February.