Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas is proposing to charge travellers an "air tax"

Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas is proposing to charge travellers an “air tax”

Imagine paying tax just for the privilege of breathing. I’m not talking about the usual taxes for buying products, paying for roads and schools, et cetera.

I’m talking about paying tax just for the ability to breathe. Well that is exactly what one airport Venezuela is proposing.

Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas is asking customers to pay 127 bolivars tax (£12; $20) for the air they breathe.

This is to pay for the cost of a newly-installed system which uses the “ozone” to purify the building’s air conditioning system. A press release from the Ministry of Water and Air Transport revealed that it’s the first airport in South America and the Caribbean to use the technology, which it claims will eliminate bacterial growth to “protect the health of travellers,” as well as deodorizing and sanitising the building.

The breath tax has been met with outrage and disbelief on social media, with some Venezuelans fearing that the tax could end up being a new source of corruption. Others see it as evidence of how short of cash the airport is. Most international airlines have reduced the number of flights to the country because of a financial dispute with the Venezuelan government.

If the tax proves to be successful, it could be used as a model that is replicated in other airports and cities across the world.

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