Norway's domestic airlines have lodged a formal complaint with ESA, the European Economic Area watchdog, accusing the Norwegian government of uncompetitive practice in levying a carbon dioxide (CO2) tax on aviation fuel affecting inland but not foreign routes. Braathens, SAS and a handful of smaller companies argue that the tax, currently costing the airlines NKr100m (euros 12.2m) annually, does not even work in its own terms, because those airlines that also operate abroad are filling up on extra fuel at foreign airports. The aircraft are therefore carrying more weight and emitting more CO2 than necessary. Earlier this year, the government announced that it was withdrawing a controversial CO2 tax on foreign flights (ENDS Daily 26 January) "after renewed consideration". In the meantime, ESA is reported to have opened an investigation, on its own initiative, into Norway's equally controversial "seat tax" (or "passenger tax") as a possibly illegal restraint on free movement of services. The tax, intended to discourage flying in favour of train travel, appears to have been levied inconsistently on the various domestic and foreign carriers.
Braathens, tel: +47 67 59 70 00.
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