60 lawsuits against participation in the corona return campaign
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After many countries closed borders and cut flight connections at short notice because of the corona pandemic, the federal government launched an unprecedented return campaign. However, only a good quarter of the passengers paid for the cost sharing. And some want to sue.
AA few months after the unprecedented return campaign due to the corona pandemic, the federal government only collected a good quarter of the estimated cost share from the air passengers. Some even want to take the payment notices to court. According to a response from the Foreign Office to a request from FDP MP Roman Müller-Böhm, which the German Press Agency has received, there are now 60 complaints.
According to the ministry, the recovered tourists or business travelers paid 10.6 million euros into the state treasury by December 16. This corresponds to 11 percent of the total cost of the campaign of 93.8 million euros calculated in June. At the time, however, the Foreign Office assumed that the travelers who had been brought back from all over the world would contribute almost 40 percent.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) started the campaign on March 17, together with tour operators and airlines, after many countries closed borders and flight connections at short notice due to the corona pandemic. A total of around 240,000 travelers were returned. The tour operators flew the tourists who had booked with them free of charge.
The Federal Foreign Office chartered planes for individual tourists and other people wishing to return, which made 260 flights and brought back around 67,000 people from around 65 countries by the end of April. They were then asked to pay up from June. The estimated ticket prices were roughly in the range of cheaper economy tickets for the respective regions. Flights from the Canary Islands and North Africa had to pay 200 euros, for southern Africa and the Caribbean they had to pay 500 euros, returnees from South America and Asia had to pay 600 euros, and those fetched back from New Zealand and Australia received an invoice for 1000 Euro.
According to the State Secretary in the Foreign Office’s response, Miguel Berger, 28,728 payment notices had been sent by mid-December. How many of these were paid is not clear from the letter.
A cost sharing of the passengers is stipulated in the consular law. Besides them, the EU also contributes to the flight costs with grants. According to the original calculations of the AA, the German taxpayers should still have a bottom line of 23 million euros or 24 percent in the action.