Austrian environment minister plans to curb low-cost flights

Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (C), Austrian Environment, Transport and Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler (R) [ EPA-EFE/FLORIAN WIESER]

Austrian Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler hopes to bring legal action at EU level to address the issue of extreme low-cost flights. “We are currently working on a solution that is in line with EU law to fight dumping prices that harm the environment,” she said.

Gewessler announced a similar proposal in 2020 after the government said it would give flag carrier Austrian Airlines €650 million in aid to save it from bankruptcy. However, the issue was put to the side until now due to the pandemic resulting in reduced air traffic.

“The topic has been met with great interest in Europe and we will push it through,” said Gewessler said, noting that the proposal, which is currently in its final phase, aims to prohibit airlines from “artificially creating prices that are below tax dues and other fees.”

Last week, EU climate chief Frans Timmermans announced similar plans, calling for the end of short-haul flights and an increase in airfare rates. “I was very pleased that Timmermans recommended curbing short-haul flights,” said Gewessler. (Oliver Noyan | EURACTIV.de)

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