The motion was put forward by Green Liberal MP Jürg Grossen. People were “flying like there is no tomorrow”, Grossen said in the text of the motion (here in German), adding that the “extremely cheap tickets sometimes on offer” were partly responsible.
He said the real cost to the environment needed to be properly reflected in ticket prices. Any money raised should be used for measures to make aviation more eco-friendly and towards climate change protection measures more generally.
Thursday’s vote in favour of a flight tax comes after MPs rejected a similar proposal last December.
It also sees the lower house of the Swiss parliament jumping the gun on a debate on changes to Switzerland’s CO2 law set to take place in the Swiss senate next week – a debate that will also include the issue of a flight tax.
Before the vote in parliament on Thursday, Environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga called on MPs to wait on the results of the senate debate. She also noted that the senate’s environmental committee had already drawn up a proposal for a flight tax along with plans for a so-called climate fund.
But with their vote in parliament on Thursday, Switzerland’s MPs offered further proof of the green wave sweeping over the country right now. This has been partly inspired by developments including Swiss students’ participation in the global Fridays for Future environmental movement.
Under senate committee plans, a flight tax ranging from 30 Swiss francs (€27.40) to 120 Swiss francs would be levied depending on ticket class and distance travelled.
The tax will be introduced if green-lighted by both chambers of parliament.