Caracas Airport Adds Breathing Tax

Filed Under: Travel

I hate airport taxes — who doesn’t, I suppose? Nothing quite makes my reward travel feel “unrewarding” like the $200+ air passenger duty which is levied for itineraries originating in the UK.

But when it comes to airport taxes, I think the Simon Bolivar International Airport of Maiquetia in Caracas, Venezuela takes the cake. Per CNN:

Anyone departing from the Simon Bolivar International Airport of Maiquetia in Caracas now faces a levy of 127 bolivars ($18) to pay for a new air conditioning unit installed earlier this year, according to a statement on the airport’s website.

The airport says its air conditioning system “eliminates contaminants” and injects ozone into the atmosphere to improve the environment and protect the health of passengers.

It boasts that the system is the first of its kind in an airport anywhere in South America and the Caribbean.

The “breathing tax” which came into force on July 1 and must be paid by all domestic and international passengers to airlines at check in, has generated bemusement in Venezuela, with many taking to Twitter to criticize the measure.

It seems that there’s a potential loophole in this tax. It’s only charged if you fly out of Caracas Airport. Think of all the free, premium air you could get just by visiting the airport for fun? Talk about value!

Or is Caracas Airport one of those airports which requires you to show your travel itinerary before even entering the building? If not, it sounds like it’s about time that they do.

So, has anyone experienced this new state of the art ozone-injecter in Caracas?

Caracas Airport

(Tip of the hat to RS)

  1. Newsroom are having a field day with this (actually started July 1st).

    The tax is only ~2$ at the “real” exchange rate. They say it’s to pay for the fancy air conditioning system they installed. But it sucks to pay that considering toilets break or there’s no running water much often than you’d expect.

    I wonder if it’s something similar to what casinos use?

    But hey! Airlines are decreasing frecuencies to the bare minimum (if not completely eliminating) so the only ones enjoying the “ozone” will be Duty Free stores* employees.

    *Those are almost empty as well…you can find chocolate and candy in the shelf previously occupied by watches and perfumes.


  2. I’ve been through Caracas many times on the way to Margarita Island, but haven’t experienced the NEW $18 AIR to breathe.
    Caracas is a high crime city. Try your best not to overnight there. There are more than enough hustlers right at the airport.

  3. Some Ozone-equipment company did a dirty deal with the local governor to install the equipment and give him a massive kickback and this is how the purchase is being funded. Venezuela is a disastrously corrupt country and this is just one of many ridiculous scams that go unpunished.

    Maiquetia is one of the worst airports in the world and is now a ghost town with all of the international airlines canceling service because Venezuela won’t pay the $3.4B in debts they owe the airline industry. So the local mafia are suffering from the reduction in money they can scam off departing passengers and therefore need to institute new BS charges.

    My wife landed at CCS 3 days ago and the air was as stale as it has always been.

  4. Nope, you don’t need to show any papers when entering CCS. And even if you would, you could pay to get in anyway ;). As other people already said: it’s a horrible airport with totally nothing to see, buy or enjoy anymore. Well, the free internet works, sort of. And if you don’t get robbed before going through security, you’ll probably be after security.

    Nothing wrong with the air, though (haven’t been there since the Great Leader had personally installed his latest invention, the a/c… hold on, that’s North Korea – but it’s getting close), but it’s always been just as bad as any other airport. On the black market, 127 BsF is around $1.5, by the way. And probably worth even less by the time I finish this message.

    Just do yourself and everyone else a favor: don’t even think of trying out CCS. My wife is Venezuelan, lives there (until all papers are done), but I’m not even thinking a split second about visiting here. No matter how much I miss her, it’s just too unsafe to go there šŸ™

  5. I wonder if RapidTravelChai has visited Venezuela. Of all the bloggers here on BoardingArea, my bet is that he has!
    Anyway, it seems more like an A/C tax versus a breathing tax. It would be an interesting experiment if they had 2 security and waiting areas, one with A/C and one without A/C. Would passengers pay the extra $2 (or $18?) A/C tax or brave it out in the stale heat?
    Speaking of which, I really really hate airport taxes as well. I was in Jakarta two weeks ago and lo and behold, the lady in the check-in counter asked for 150,000 Rp ($15) in cash. Normally the term corruption goes to my head whenever they insist on cash but lo and behold, all international passengers have to pay this and at the check-in counter (cash only too!) In Manila, they also have a departure tax of roughly $10 but at least there is a separate kiosk for it and credit cards are accepted.
    I’ll admit I still have visiting Angel Falls on my bucket list. <>

  6. Can I bring my own O2 tank and mask and not “use” their air? Would that avoid me not paying this tax? šŸ™‚

  7. @Joey: that is not corruption in Jakarta. Indonesian airports choose to collect the airport tax at check-in rather than including it in the cost of your airline ticket when you buy it. Perhaps it’s more inconvenient, but you’re not paying more in the end and it isn’t corruption in and of itself.

  8. Looks like they’ll need that tax to pay for all the corrosion they’re going to end up having. They seem to have had a third-grade level of oversight involved. “Ozone layer good, therefore ozone good, amirite?” There’s a reason why they’re the first airport to bother, it’s a pollutant at low altitudes that’s harmful to humans and very reactive to a range of compounds.

  9. Bali — departure “tax” — no notification until you are past security and on the way to the gate. Cash only, the first request in rupee (?), but they’ll take whatever you’ve got. Being unprepared for it, I responded that all I (genuinely) had was USD 50 … lo and behold the tax for my wife and myself was 25 ea. I have no idea if that’s really what the tax is for everybody. As sour a taste as that was, it pales in comparison to the reciprocity fees (and miserable wait times) US immigration demands of many visitors.

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