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Removing passenger tax would bolster German airlines, says minister

Removing Germany's air transport tax would help German airlines, the country's economy minster has said.23 Aug 2017

Brigitte Zypries told Handelsblatt that the tax must be removed to allow Germany's airlines and airports to compete with foreign rivals.

Germany introduced the tax in 2011 on all flights from German airports. It ranges from around €7 for short-haul flights to over €40 for long distances, Handelsblatt said.

"Airlines and unions have long criticised the tax as disadvantaging German companies. Its abolition would strengthen German airlines’ competitiveness in Europe," Zypries said. This is needed in the wake of the bankruptcy of Air Berlin which has left the German airline industry vulnerable, she said.

Air Berlin filed for insolvency this week after its main shareholder, Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways, withdrew its financial support.

"The federal German government, Lufthansa and other partners are supporting Air Berlin in its restructuring efforts. The federal government is supporting Air Berlin with a bridging loan to maintain flight operations for the long-term," the German airline said.

Ryanair has lodged competition complaints with Germany's competition authority and the European Commission over the German government, Lufthansa and Air Berlin co-operation, claiming it is anti-competitive.0