Portugal Launches Carbon Tax For All Departing Passengers

Portugal has officially begun charging passengers a ‘carbon tax’ for their flights. Departing passengers will need to pay the €2 ($2.4) charge per flight as part of their tickets. The decision comes as the country looks for ways to offset the impact of polluting gases on the environment in the short run.

TAP Air Portugal A330-900
Passengers flying out of Portugal will notice the small charge while booking tickets from July 1st onwards. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

In effect

According to Aviacionline, the proposed carbon tax has officially come into effect from July 1st. This means all passengers flying out of any airport from Portugal will be subject to a €2 ($2.4) extra fee to pay for offsetting the impact of their flight on the environment.

The new tax applies to all flights from Portugal, including short domestic hops and long international ones. Airlines are required to collect these fees and hand them over to the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC), reporting their collections on the 5th of every month.

TAP Air Booking Page
Passengering reserving flights will see a ‘J9’ charge on their bookings, which is the new carbon tax. Photo: TAP Air Portugal

For passengers, the new charge will increase the price of tickets ever so slightly. While Ryanair’s base fares could go up by 20% if booking early, many will not notice the new addition amid the litany of other taxes and fees charged by airlines and governments.

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Protecting the environment

The topic of environmental regulations has been at the top of the aviation industry’s minds for a few years now. Following the pandemic last year, European governments made it clear that their multi-million or billion euro bailouts will all come with environmental strings attached.

This meant carriers must make changes to their operations to access their state funding. For Air France, this meant cutting some short domestic flights and instead allowing train services to take over. Other airlines have seen demands to slash their carbon emissions by as much as 50% in the coming decade.

Air France A320 Family
Airlines have been making several operational changes to meet the targets of their bailout packages. Photo: Getty Images

Portugal’s carbon tax is taking the onus straight to passengers themselves. This means travelers will have offset at least a part of the environmental impact from their flights. However, there are divided views on whether these green taxes even work.

Not the only way

While the idea of green and carbon taxes on passengers is picking up quickly, there is some opposition. Notably, airlines have spoken about these fees, which impacts their operations heavily. In March, easyJet CEO and Chairman of Airlines for Europe, Johan Lundgren, spoke out against carbon taxes.

In particular, Lundgren talked about how these taxes will only make travel inaccessible to more people. This means overall air traffic would not actually fall, and only load factors would, further impacting the environment. Instead of skewing travel for the wealthy only, he suggests investing in modern technology to cut emissions.

easyJet Southend
New taxes will only result in reversing the democratization of air travel seen in recent decades. Photo: Getty Images

While airlines clearly have a vested interest in green taxes, the issue remains a widely debated one. For now, all passengers flying out of Portugal have to brace themselves for a new fee and possibly many more on their subsequent flights.

What do you think about carbon taxes on passengers? Let us know in the comments!