Flight tax delayed due to EU

The implementation of Sweden’s controversial flight tax could have to wait a few months. The government is still waiting for a European Union decision before it can be imposed.

The possibility of the flight tax – 94 kronor for flights within Europe and 188 kronor for flights out of Europe – has been hanging in the air for a while now, causing some carriers to reconsider their operations in the country.

“We are waiting for next week when we will get a battery of questions from the EU commission,” said Ellen Hausel Heldal, spokeswoman from Sweden’s Ministry of Industry. “Then we will answer and maybe the EU commission will have more questions, so it can draw on until the fall before we know if the commission approves.”

The Swedish tax plan would exempt some flights to Norrland and on Gotland, something which could break EU competition rules.

The tax was to begin August 1 this year, but now its start date hinges on EU approval, something that will take time.

The Irish carrier Ryanair is against the tax, and has said it will shut down flights to Västerås and Malmö as well as reconsider reducing the frequency of flights to other Swedish airports if it did not receive final word regarding the tax before the end of July.

“This is purely a business deal,” said the airline’s Nordic boss, Lotta Lindquist-Brosjö. “We are here to fly people and make money. If we add on the tax, we will lose money. It is a commercial decision.”