Tax on airline tickets to rise in France to fund train investments

The government said the increase would likely come into effect next year

A view of an Air France plane in the sky
Flight taxes will increase in a bid to fund more investment in the railways, to make trains more attractive and cheaper to budget-conscious travellers
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Taxes on flight tickets in France are set to rise to fund investments in train infrastructure and make travelling by rail more attractive, the government has said.

France’s transport minister Clément Beaune made the announcement on Monday (August 7) and said the higher taxes would likely begin in 2024.

“In the 2024 budget, we will increase already-existing taxes on airline tickets,” he told RMC in an interview. “This isn’t a tax for the fun of it but to finance investments in trains.

“Many people say they are shocked that planes often cost less than trains. [That’s why] we need more investments in the railways.”

Mr Beaune also said that a European tax on aircraft fuel, kerosene, could also be introduced “in a few months”.

However, he conceded that for such a tax to be put in place, it would need to be “fair and necessary from an environmental standpoint” and that all EU member states would need to agree.

He said: “It’s moving forward, but there’s no point having a tax on kerosene in France if you don’t also have it in Germany or Italy.”

The minister added France’s state-owned railway operator SNCF had introduced a series of lower-priced tickets for certain groups - including young people - in a bid to encourage them to take the train over the summer.

He added: “By next summer, we want to have a [new] travel pass, especially for young people, for unlimited, lower-cost tickets.”

A ban on domestic flights for plane journeys that can be done by train in under 2.5 hours came into force in France in May this year - although exceptions to the rule mean that the number of flights affected is fewer than first apparent.

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