Italy minister sees budget amendment to hike tax on flight tickets

ROME, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Lawmakers from Italy’s ruling parties will present amendments to the government’s 2020 budget to introduce a new tax on airline tickets that can raise billions of euros, Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti said.

Fioramonti, from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, has previously proposed such a tax to help the environment and raise funds for education, but it did not feature in the draft budget presented to parliament on Monday.

However, in an interview with Reuters, Fioramonti said he was confident the measure would be introduced in the budget by amendments during its passage through parliament where it must be approved by end-year.

He said he had had positive feedback from lawmakers from various parties in the ruling coalition.

“5-Star lawmakers will be happy to do that, but not just from 5-Star, also from progressive lawmakers across the board, the Democratic Party and the (leftist) LEU party,” he said.

With a new levy of two euros on domestic flights and 5 euros on international flights “you get billions” of euros in new revenue, Fioramonti said, adding that he was “pretty sure” the proposal would soon be on the government’s agenda.

In separate comments Fioramonti, a former economics professor, said he believed Italy’s membership of the euro zone had been bad for its chronically stagnant economy, but leaving the bloc would now do more harm than good.

“I think if we had never joined the euro it could have been better, but once you’re in it’s like a divorce,” he said.

“If you never marry it’s okay, but once you marry, divorce can be very expensive and you should think twice.” (Reporting By Gavin Jones; editing by James Mackenzie)