Emirates' Clark hits out at Europe air travel taxes

Dubai airline criticises rising long-haul travel taxes on day it launches alliance with Aus's Qantas

Tim Clark, President, Emirates.

Tim Clark, President, Emirates.

The president of Emirates Airline has hit out at taxes applied by European governments on passengers travelling on long-haul routes, as the Dubai-based carrier launched a major alliance with Australia's Qantas Airways.

Under the ten-year deal between Emirates and Qantas, which was first announced last year but formally began on Monday, the latter will replace Singapore with Dubai as its hub for European flights, while the two will co-ordinate on pricing, sales, schedules and frequent flyer programmes. The agreement is expected to shave two hours from journey times from the UK to Australia and vice versa.

Speaking in Dubai, Tim Clark said that increasing passenger duties in countries such as the UK were making it harder for carriers to keep down the cost of such long distance air travel amid economic hardship across much of the European continent.

"At the moment the real inhibitors in Europe are not so much the economies, but when you look at the United Kingdom, and the amount of money they charge through taxation on passenger tickets, it's really doing a lot of damage," Clark said.

On April 1 the British government increased the fees it levies on passengers travelling on long-haul routes from UK airports. Those travelling to destinations in economy class up to 4,000 miles away have seen duties rise to US$102 per ticket, while passengers on longer distance routes such as those to Australia face charges of up to US$145.

Those travelling via business or first class pay around double these amounts in airport levies.

Comparatively, the German government charges up to US$54 in passenger tax per ticket.

"Without [these taxes], in certain states in Europe and the euro zone, you'd see a lot more business coming out of them. Hopefully governments will recognise this and back off a little bit, and make life a little bit more affordable, bearing in mind the airlines are trying to accommodate this and trying to provide the value proposition that we are required to do to make it work," he added.

The alliance between Emirates and Qantas was awarded final approval by competition watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Competition at the end of March, with the caveat the carriers maintain their pre-alliance capacity on routes between Australia and New Zealand.

The deal means that Qantas and Emirates now offer 98 services to Dubai per week, with onward travel to 65 destinations in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

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Posted by: Paul King

The UK has the world's busiest international airport so the taxation on passenger tickets is clearly not affecting demand. Tim Clark knows all about supply and demand, selling some of the world's most expensive cramped aircraft seats. He defines...pot, kettle & black!

Posted by: Nezaud

European stereo type

Posted by: Stephen

This airline's stance and pompous attitude on virtually everything grates on me regularly, even if its solid bunch of groupies continue to wave the flag and scream like teenyboppers at every little thing it does.

If the taxes imposed on UK flyers to overseas destinations are so high, how is it that one can fly from the UK to Dubai with Emirates for around $600 ( AED2100) yet the same journey from DXB to UK costs $1500 (AED 5400)?

In an ever vigilant effort to ignore them completely, this year I am avoiding their expensive flights to southern Europe and replacing them with flights at half the price and splitting the journey, staying in sumptuous hotels en route with the saving

Posted by: ryan

If Mr Clark has not heard- Europe is in a crisis and needs to get as much cash in to save it self. Unlike the ME, where they can stick a shovel in the ground and oil pops out, taxes are the only way of doing that!.

Posted by: Sam

Your comments drip with envy of the ME.

Europe is in a crisis of its own making. Taxing her citizens and businesses to death is no long term solution. Its akin to killing the hen that lays the golden egg. I bet if you were in France and paying 70% taxes, you wouldn't be defending this daft policy that most of Europe is now doing.

I think Europe needs to sell whatever she has, tighten her belt and come up with a new strategy to sustain her economy. Can't do it though without her citizens adopting a leaner lifestyle, and learning to live within their very limited means.

Posted by: procan

ryan you are so right, and access to North American markets is going to be significantly higher . particularly on Canadian turf. Foreign air lines will pay dearly for that, you can count on it.

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