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Austria paves the way in cutting airport departure tax for passengers

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Austria has announced a significant cut in the departure taxes passengers pay when using airports in the country. The move ratified by the Austrian Ministers Council will see airport taxes cut in half with effect from the 1 January 2018.

Applicable departure taxes effective from this date are 17.50 (15) for long-haul destinations, 7.50 (6.50) for medium distance and short-haul at 3.50 (3). The Ministers Council affirmed that the decision to reduce the taxes was to make Vienna International Airport more attractive to both airlines and passengers.

They noted that the move would encourage inbound tourism too. Side benefits are also likely to be enhanced economic development and the creation of jobs in both the Austrian tourism and air industries.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says the move is a win-win for tourists visiting Austria and for Austrians flying out of airports in the country. The associations director-general, Alexandre de Juniac, said the duty reduction was positive, but would be better if the tax was abolished altogether.

He continued by saying the economic benefit for Austria would be even higher if there were no passenger airport taxes at all. An IATA survey from 2015 estimated that zero departure tax could generate up to 1,700 jobs and increase air travel by almost three per cent.

Mr de Juniac took aim at the governments of the UK and Germany and said they ought to take note of Austrias move. He explained that these two nations imposed heavy taxes on passengers using their airports and these should be reduced.