As BBC correctly notes, we're used to a seemingly endless range of taxes and surcharges when we fly — passenger taxes, departure taxes, fuel levies. But Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas has taken this a step further — passengers flying out now have to pay 127 bolivars tax ($20) for the air they breathe.
Wait, a tax to breathe the air? Why yes — it is meant to cover the cost of a newly-installed system which uses ozone to purify the building's air conditioning system. A press release from the Ministry of Water and Air Transport says it's the first airport in South America and the Caribbean to use the technology, which it claims will eliminate bacterial growth to "protect the health of travellers," as well as deodorizing and sanitising the building.
Needless to say, the denizens of the socialist paradise are all but enthused. From BBC:
But with tickets out of the country already expensive and scarce because of Venezuela's economic crisis, many on social media have responded to the tax with both humour and outrage.
Radio presenter Daniel Martínez tweeted: "Could you explain to me the ozone thing in Maiquetia? The toilets don't have water, the air-con is broken, there are stray dogs inside the airport, but there's ozone?"
"Soon we will be charged for the 'good gas'" was another tweet — a rueful reference to the tear gas that the police often use on opposition protesters. The satirical news blog El Chiguire Bipolar ran the headline: "Maiquetia Airport unveils robot that puts you upside-down and takes your money."