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‘Fat Tax’ Could See Heavy Passengers Paying More for Airline Tickets


Dr. Bharat P. Bhatta, an economic scholar, has proposed the calculation of airline tickets costs according to passengers’ weights. Dr. Bhatta says that the system will be of benefit to passengers themselves, airlines and the society as a whole.

Dr. Bhatta, an associate economic professor at Norway’s Sogn og Fjordane University, made the controversial recommendation in a paper published by the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management. He noted that reducing a kilo of weight in an airplane will directly result in fuel economy worth up to US$3,000 annually. He also stated that CO2 emissions will also be greatly reduced with the reduction of cargo weight.

Dr. Bhatta made citations in his paper including Air Canada’s move to reduce cargo weight by excluding life vests from their planes. He also noted that other low-cost airlines charged passengers for excess luggage as well as made heavier passengers book two seats. He further proposed charging passengers according to their respective weight as well as space because it is ‘it is a universally accepted principle, not only in transportation, but also in other services.’ He added that space and weight are more important principles in aviation compare to other transport modes. Time will tell whether airlines will adapt his recommendation.

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