French officials announced that they will begin charging an ecotax on all outgoing flights starting next year. The ecotax, which will add an additional fee of up to $20 on airline tickets, is said to help fund eco-friendly transportation infrastructure, such as rail lines. "With the eco-contribution, air transport will play its part in financing the daily transport of all our citizens," Elisabeth Borne, a French transportation official, said in a translation by NPR. Borne explained that the ecotax comes as a "response to the ecological urgency and sense of injustice expressed by the French."
The new green tax is estimated to bring in approximately €180 million (or $200 million) annually and will be used toward the development of less pollutant transportation systems, which will include trains. The tax will only apply to domestic flights departing from France, with the exception of flights to Corsica, France's overseas territories, and connecting flights. France estimates the tax will cost €1.50 for economy tickets, €9 for business class, and up to €18 for business flights outside of the European Union.
Air France, the country's leading airline, called the measure "extremely penalizing" for the company. "This tax would represent an additional cost of over 60 million euros per year for the Air France group," Air France said in a statement. After the announcement on Tuesday, Air France's stock price took a 3% tumble.
France is not the first country to roll out an ecotax. Germany launched a similar ecotax in 1999 and remains controversial as the country's fuel and heating oil prices have risen significantly in the past two decades. In 2018, Sweden also announced an ecotax on air travel. It's clear that the French government is making a big push to protect the environment. The country's leaders also announced a ban on all plastic utensils, plates, cups, and boxes that are petroleum-based by 2020.