Norway’s controversial new tax on airline seats, meant to discourage flying, has now upset Ryanair along with other carriers serving Norway. The low-fare Irish airline, which often advertises ticket prices that are lower than the new NOK 88 tax alone, has threatened to stop flying in and out of Norway when the tax is imposed.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported Wednesday that the airline’s “Chief Commercial Officer” David O’Brien sent a letter to Norwegian Finance Minister Siv Jensen in which he pleaded with her to dump the tax. He claimed it would result in a loss of jobs, tourism and hurt business connections.
He wrote that if the tax is levied from April 1 as planned, Ryanair would have no choice but to cut routes to and from the non-state-controlled Norwegian airports Torp in Sandefjord and Rygge in Moss. Not only would that result in job losses, especially at Rygge, but Ryanair claims passengers also would be forced to pay higher fares from Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen.
The tax, approved by Parliament on Monday, was a result of state budget negotiations and a concession to the government’s support party Venstre (the Liberal Party). It’s supported by the environmental movement, which claims it can discourage flying and thus cut carbon emissions.