16 October, etc.venues Monument
30 October, JW Marriott Grosvenor House
1st November 2023, etc.venues County Hall
The Association of European Airlines (AEA) has criticised EU plans for a tax on air tickets to help developing countries as “unworkable, discriminatory and counter-productive.”The EU's 25 finance ministers agreed in principle to a “small” levy on air tickets at a meeting in Luxembourg last week. The Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who chaired the talks, said: “This will be a voluntary contribution which some member states propose to turn into a mandatory contribution, but we are leaving this open.” The meeting also agreed to drop plans for a more controversial tax on airline fuel.Belgium, France and Germany have indicated they will make the tax, possibly between €1 and €3 a ticket, compulsory but other countries, including Austria and Greece, said they opposed it.Mr Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, the AEA's secretary general, said airlines played a role in promoting tourism which was a key source of revenue in Europe and developing countries.He said the decision to make the tax voluntary was a “recipe for confusion and distortion to competition, both within Europe and internationally.”Sylviane Lust, director-general of the International Air Carrier Association, also criticised the planned tax as it “unfairly discriminates against passengers who choose to fly.”The finance ministers are due to discuss the levy at their next meeting on June 7.
Iberia plans major savings
Iberia is planning savings of up to €600m over the next three years to stop it sliding into the red.The Spanish carrier made a profit of €218m last year but its figures for the first quarter of 2005 recorded a €16m loss.Mr Angel Mullor, Iberia's chief operating officer, said the airline faced high fuel prices, competition from low cost airlines and soon from high speed trains on the Madrid-Barcelona route which was currently one of its most profitable.An estimated saving of €150m is expected when Iberia's fleet is renewed with more fuel efficient planes.Mr Mullor said it was also considering launching its own low cost operation to compete local budget airlines, Ryanair and easyJet.