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Parliamentary questions
3 February 2006
WRITTEN QUESTION by Simon Busuttil (PPE‑DE) to the Commission

 Subject:  Air travel departure tax in Malta/international vs internal flights

On 1 August 2005 the Government of Malta raised the air travel passenger departure tax from EUR 23 to EUR 46.

This tax applies to all flights commencing from Malta. However, it only applies to international flights. It does not apply to national internal flights between Malta and its sister island, Gozo, the price of which are comparable to short-distance flights to destinations such as Catania and Palermo.

This means that there is a difference in treatment between international and internal flights for the purposes of departure tax.

The European Court of Justice held that EU law ‘precludes the application of any national legislation which has the effect of making the provision of services between Member States more difficult than the provision of services purely within one Member State ...’ and that this applied ‘irrespective of whether there is discrimination on the grounds of nationality or residence’. (Case C‑92/01, para. 25.)

The Advocate General who issued an opinion on this case said that ‘what matters is not whether the measure constitutes discrimination on grounds of nationality. It is sufficient that the cross-border intra-Community service is made more expensive than the comparable purely domestic service.’ EU law, he said, ‘lays down a prohibition on restriction, and not purely a prohibition on discrimination.’ (opinion of Advocate General Alber in Case C‑92/01, para. 25.)

Considering the above jurisprudence, does the Commission consider the Maltese air (departure) tax to be compatible with EU law?

 OJ C 328, 30/12/2006
Last updated: 22 March 2006Legal notice