The Association of European Airlines (AEA) has attacked the Dutch government over a new air travel duty, which it describes as a "money-raising measure masquerading as an environmental tax".

According to the AEA, the move to impose a tax of €11.25 (£7.80) on intra-European flights and €45 on intercontinental journeys is set to raise around €350 million a year for the Dutch government.

The association, which comprises airlines such as British Airways and bmi, claims that the tax cannot be touted as an environmental measure as the revenue it raises will not be used to tackle environmental problems.

Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, AEA secretary general, said: "For the AEA airlines, greenhouse gas emissions per passenger and per kilometre have reduced almost 20 per cent over the last ten years.

"This has been achieved through investment in more efficient aircraft and the tailoring of capacity to demand resulting in fewer empty seats. This new tax will contribute nothing, absolutely nothing, to that process."

Mr Schulte-Strathaus claimed that the next "big leap forward" in environmental performance will be the Single Sky project, which he said will unify the European airspace and eliminate "wasteful and inefficient" flight routings.

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AEA Criticises Dutch Tax