French Unions Urge Cut in Chirac’s AIDS Tax Weighing on Airlines

France should curb a tax that helps fund measures to combat the spread of AIDS in Africa in order to relieve the burden of state levies on the country’s cash-strapped airlines, unions said today.

Dubbed the “Chirac tax” after ex-French President Jacques Chirac, who introduced it, the fee adds 47 euros to premium long-haul fares from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, said Geoffrey Bouvet, president of the APNA pilot union, inflating Air France SA costs by 80 million euros ($111 million) a year,

French carriers are being crippled by a range of excessive taxes, campaigners from eight unions said today. XL Airways, with only 10 planes, spent 3 million euros on the Chirac tax last year, according to Bertrand Moine, deputy secretary general for the Scara air-transport union.

“French air transport companies are at risk of disappearing,” said Pascal Mathieu, an employee delegate on Air France’s board and a member of the CGE-CGC union that represents executive-level employees. “It’s not a fantasy.”

Air France-KLM, which had a 1.83 billion-euro net loss in 2013, is seeking to slash costs through its Transform 2015 plan.

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