An across-the-board tax on aviation fuel, currently being discussed at EU level, would eventually raise the cost of flying to Malta, airport CEO Alan Borg has acknowledged.

The tax, which is part of the EU’s climate change measures, is under discussion in the European Parliament. Airlines in the bloc have opposed the measure, saying it would make them unable to compete with non-EU rivals.

Malta is not as close as we think it is to mainland Europe- MIA CEO Alan Borg

Malta has objected to such proposals for many years, arguing it would put it in an unfair position since it is more heavily dependent on aviation for travel and tourism than countries in continental Europe.

Asked about the issue during the airport’s mid-year briefing, Borg echoed concerns that Malta would be “negatively impacted” if the tax is introduced.

“Malta is not as close as we think it is to mainland Europe and so the cap means anything above northern Germany will be significantly impacted. Our tourism industry is based on connectivity and, therefore, yes, it is a concern.

“The cost to fly to Malta may increase in the medium term,” Borg said.

Earlier this month, Labour MEP and former prime minister Alfred Sant said the revised taxation of energy products would not affect the whole of the EU in the same way. Those member states whose economy depended on imports and visitors arriving by air, like Malta, would be hit harder.

PN spokesperson Peter Agius has said the government’s failure in EU negotiations on aviation rules were putting additional burdens on the Maltese consumer and industry. He too said the proposed changes would place a disproportionate burden on Malta.

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