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As oil prices slip, Qatar introduces airport tax

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As oil prices slip, Qatar introduces airport tax
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As of Tuesday passengers travelling through Qatar’s airport face a new tax.

With oil prices still depressed, the government is looking for fresh sources of income.

So every traveller leaving Qatar from Doha’s Hamad International Airport, including transit passengers, will have to pay 35 riyals (8.60 euros) as a departure charge. The amount will be added to plane ticket prices.

The emirate of Dubai, which has the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passengers, started levying a similar tax in March.

As with Qatar, Dubai’s government said that was to help finance expansion and deal with an increasing number of travellers.

In 2015 more than 78 million passengers passed through Dubai’s main airport and it expects 86 million this year. That is just over seven million a month.

Some 1.33 million passengers travelled through Hamad International Airport in June.

Airport fees are common around the world, though less so for transit passengers.

Gulf states have in the past avoided them in order to gain a competitive business advantage and to become regional hubs.

But now as they are starting to run deficits and with government finances under pressure they have little choice.

Qatar has said it expects to post a deficit of 46.5 billion riyals (11.4 billion euros) in 2016, its first in 15 years.