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Belgium to tax private jets, short-haul flights

By Marine Strauss

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium will impose new taxes on older, noisier planes as well as private jets and short-haul flights in a bid to reduce noise and air pollution, according to a government statement.

Currently, aircraft using Brussels Airport have to pay a tax determined by the noise level generated at take-off and landing. Until now, small planes such as private jets have been exempt.

The new system of duties, to take effect from April 1, 2023, makes taxes dependent not just on noise, but also on levels of air polluting and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the destination.

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Duties will increase for flights shorter than 500 km (310 miles).

"The noise pollution experienced by residents near Brussels National Airport, whether they live in Flanders, Brussels or Wallonia, cannot remain as it is," Georges Gilkinet, deputy prime minister and minister in charge of transport, said in a statement.

Business aviation represents 12% of all air traffic in Belgium, according to the European Business Aviation Association.

While there is no regulation at EU level yet to tax corporate aircraft over greenhouse gas emissions, France has pushed the idea since the summer.

(Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; Editing by Ros Russell)