French levy on airline tickets raises €1bn for UNITAID

29 January 2013 (Last Updated January 29th, 2013 18:30)

The French Government's special tax levy on air tickets has raised more than €1bn since 2006, according to the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC).

The French Government's special tax levy on air tickets has raised more than €1bn since 2006, according to the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC).

The principal beneficiary of this levy is UNITAID who have used the proceeds to fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, diseases that claim more than 4 million lives every year.

As part of the initiative, a minimum levy of around €1 is collected from economy-class tickets and €40 is levied on business-class tickets from all passengers on all flights originating from France.

The initiative was launched in 2004 by France and Brazil, which was later joined by Chile, Norway and the UK.

France became the first country to collect the solidarity levy on air tickets on 1 July 2006 and currently there are 44 countries who are participating in the initiative.

UNITAID executive board chairman Philippe Douste-Blazy said: "I would like to thank France for its firm commitment to this innovative and life-saving initiative."

"It has been reported that the levy has had no adverse effects on air traffic or jobs in the airline industry and tourism."

However, it has been reported that the levy has had no adverse effects on air traffic or jobs in the airline industry and tourism.

UNITAID executive director Denis Broun said: "Every flight counts. The contribution from each ticket purchase pays for one week's treatment for a child living with HIV/AIDS."

UNITAID has also developed the market for paediatric HIV/AIDS treatments by negotiating universal price reductions of 80% and delivered medicines to around 400,000 children suffering with HIV/AIDS.

The initiative has also managed HIV tests to 8 million pregnant women in countries that have high-occurrence rates, while distributed 200 million premium malaria treatments in widespread countries, as well as supplied a million paediatric TB treatments.

Around 70 % of the UNITAID funding comes on airline tickets; the initiative is also supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.