Latest update 14/12/2016: please see below for more details
The tax proposed in December 2013 by the Catalonia Regional Government is applicable to passenger flights to/from Barcelona El Prat (BCN) based on NOx emitted by aircraft per landing and take-off cycle (LTO) and modulated according to the number of movements (take-offs) for each aircraft type (capped at 20,000) multiplied by NOx weighted average factor (Kg) applicable to each aircraft type in the fleet. A general tax rate of €3 per kg of NOx for the share of pax on intra-EEA flights (and not connecting through Catalonia) is imposed. A reduced tax rate (€1.5 per kg of NOx) is also envisaged for the share of pax on non-EEA flights or connecting pax.
The tax was adopted by the Catalan Parliament in October 2014. The Directorate reacted to this tax on behalf of CEFA members and sent a letter to the Catalan Authorities in coordination with IATA. The Spanish National Authorities have publicly criticised this tax and confirmed they have sought to assess its impact on both competition and the environment.
The Spanish Competition Authority issued a formal opinion with regards to the Catalan NOx tax and suggested that the tax could amount to state aid. In parallel, the European Commission opened an investigation on the compatibility of the Catalan NOx tax with the EU State Aid legislation.
The Directorate continues to proactively lobby against the adoption of any further distortive and punitive tax on aviation and will provide its contribution to members operating to and from Barcelona El Prat. CEFA will monitor the future implementation of the tax and seek advice on behalf of members to legally challenge it. According to the initial indications received, only those airlines subject to the tax are entitled to challenge the tax in lower courts (once they receive the invoices). The next CEFA meeting is scheduled in Brussels on 17 October 2016.
Latest update 14/12/2016: In October 2016, the Catalan Parliament adopted an amendment to the legislation imposing a tax on NOx emissions from aircraft at Barcelona El Prat airport. The amendment introduces a unique rate of €2.5 per kg of NOx and removes the limit on the number of flights taken into account in the calculation of an airline’s tax liability. The amendment also extends the scope of the NOx tax to cargo flights.
Adopted amendments (October 2016): http://www.parlament.cat/document/bopc/179063.pdf#page=7
Spanish Competition Authority’s opinion: http://www.cnmc.es/CNMC/Prensa/TabId/254/ArtMID/6629/ArticleID/1175/La-CNMC-publica-un-informe-sobre-el-impuesto-de-la-Generalitat-de-Catalu241a-a-las-emisiones-contaminantes-de-la-aviaci243n-comercial.aspx
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