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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Airport tax replaced with new charge

By Zhu Shanshan (Global Times)

08:00, April 18, 2012

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) yesterday announced that the previous airport tax has been abolished but air passengers need to pay a fee as a contribution to the civil aviation development fund, starting April 1.

The ministry made the decision on March 17, but made it public yesterday.

Passengers need to contribute 50 yuan ($7.93) for each domestic flight and 90 yuan for every international flight departing from the country, the MOF said on its website yesterday.

Companies that use Chinese air routes for their freight transportation also need to contribute to the fund, according to the notice.

Meanwhile, the ministry said that the previous airport construction fee of 50 yuan for each flight has been abolished concurrently.

The newly created fund will be spent on civil aviation development including infrastructure construction, subsidies for airports, carbon emissions reduction, and aviation technology development, the MOF said.

Noting that the civil aviation development fund is a government fund that will be included in budget, the ministry said the Civil Aviation Administration of China is authorized to collect the fee, and hand it over to MOF every month.

The regulation will be in effect till the end of 2015.

The latest notice sparked a public outcry yesterday with netizens complaining that authorities merely changed the airport tax, which had been criticized as being too high, into another kind of charge with no change in the amount.

Song Chen, a Beijing resident, told the Global Times yesterday that the authorities abolished one tax and levied another without informing the public in advance.

"Nothing has actually changed under this new policy and we have to even pay more for international flights," said Song, noting that the cost of air travel has been going up recently.

Moreover, airlines increased fuel surcharges for routes in Chinese mainland by 10 yuan per flight since April 5, bringing the fee to a record high, after a recent rise in jet fuel prices.

With the increase, every passenger will have to pay an 80 yuan fuel surcharge for flights of less than 800 kilometers, and 150 yuan for longer flights, instead of the previous 70 yuan and 140 yuan, respectively.

But Ma Zheng, an aviation industry analyst, also sees benefit of the fund.

He told the Global Times yesterday that the amount of the new fees for domestic flights is the same as the previous airport tax, but with the creation of the fund, the money can be utilized for different purposes rather than just airport infrastructure construction, which is good news for the industry.


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