Pursuant to an interministerial decree issued by Ministry of
Infrastructure and Transport on 29 October 2015, a surtax increase
on passenger boarding fees will enter into force in Italy starting
from 1st January 2016.
Such a surtax was originally set up with the 2004 Finance law
and its amount was equal to Euro 1 per passenger. Following
subsequent amendments in the past years the tax has increased and
today it amounts to Euro 6,50. From January there will be an
increase of Euro 2,50 and the tax will be Euro 8,50 per
The tax has to be paid by the airlines (domestic flights are
excluded), but it is clear that its impact will eventually land on
the shoulders of the air travelers who will see an increase in
ticket prices. According to the International Air Transport
Association a tax increase will have direct effects on future
passenger volumes. Indeed it is expected that the surtax increase
would reduce the demand of 0,7 %, which means that there would be
414.000 passengers less per year with a consequent reduction of the
Gross National Product amounting to Euro 53 millions. Such effects
would clearly have negative consequences on the industry of
tourism, one of the leading sectors of the Italian economy.
The revenue will be used to finance the Special Fund
established for the welfare of air transport workers (such as those
involved in Alitalia crisis). The airport service operators will
have to collect the levy from the airlines and then they will have
to turn it to the Italian National Social Security Institute
It has to be remarked that formerly in 2004 the aforesaid surtax
– bearing in mind it amounted to Euro 1 only –
was introduced in order to finance municipalities in dealing with
costs related to house an airport, such as road traffic management
and special security matters (considering that the surtax was
introduced in the period after the tragic events of 9/11). Over the
years the sum has considerably increased, leading to the amount of
Euro 8,5 (even Euro 9,50 for Rome airports in order to deal with
its specific needs).
The original ratio legis of the surtax was worthy
of protection, but now the sums being requested fall outside the
proper purpose of a surtax on passenger boarding fees. Indeed it is
not conceivable that air passengers have to pay such a high amount
in order to support the welfare of air transport workers. The levy
is still – at least formally – a municipal tax,
therefore it should pursue municipal-related matters such as
security and infrastructures management cost.
Furthermore, such a surtax may raise some doubts concerning its
legitimacy as it could constitute a public aid, as it would
support the welfare for those involved in Alitalia crisis,
breaching then article 107 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the
European Union concerning the prohibition of aids granted by
States. EasyJet Airline has already declared that it will
take legal action against the surtax. We will soon see how things
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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