Airlines could protest new pollution tax in courts

airlines Plane refueling in Guarulhos. Photo: Alf Ribeiro/Shutterstock
Plane refueling in Guarulhos. Photo: Alf Ribeiro/Shutterstock

Brazilian airlines are considering filing a challenge in court against a new environmental tax that will be collected from companies operating at the Guarulhos international airport in São Paulo.

The municipality of Guarulhos approved the new levy, known as an environmental conservation tax (TPA in Portuguese), last week. The tax is set at three Guarulhos fiscal units per ton and will be calculated depending on an aircraft’s overall weight (including cargo, fuel, passengers, and luggage) just before take-off. One Guarulhos fiscal unit is equivalent to a little less than BRL 4 (USD 0.84).

Airlines are pushing back against the measure and could take the issue to court, according to Dany Oliveira, the Brazil director of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“This law is a step backward for the Brazilian aviation industry which is going through a moment of recovery after big losses during the pandemic,” he said. Mr. Oliveira estimates that the new tax could cost carriers at least BRL 185 million per year.

The city of Guarulhos has said that the important environmental impacts of the atmospheric and noise pollution produced by aircraft flying over the city justify the tax. Resources from the TPA, which will be enforced in 2023, will be used for environmental conservation and public health projects.