29 October 2016

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Qatar introduces airport tax as oil prices slip

As of Tuesday passengers traveling through Qatar's airport face a new tax. With oil prices still depressed, the government is looking for fresh sources of income, Euronews reported.

Every traveler leaving Qatar from Doha's Hamad International Airport, including transit passengers, will have to pay 35 riyals (EUR 8.60 ) as a departure charge, according to the report.

The amount will be added to plane ticket prices.

The emirate of Dubai, which has the world's busiest airport in terms of international passengers, started levying a similar tax in March.

As with Qatar, Dubai's government said that was to help finance expansion and deal with an increasing number of travelers, Euronews reported.

In 2015 more than 78 million passengers passed through Dubai's main airport and it expects 86 million this year. That is just over seven million a month, according to the report.

Some 1.33 million passengers traveled through Hamad International Airport in June.

Airport fees are common around the world, though less so for transit passengers.

Gulf states have in the past avoided them in order to gain a competitive business advantage and to become regional hubs.

But now as they are starting to run deficits and with government finances under pressure they have little choice, the report noted.

Qatar has said it expects to post a deficit of 46.5 billion riyals (EUR 11.4 billion) in 2016, its first in 15 years.

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