French President Jacques Chirac's Cabinet approved a tax on airline tickets that would raise $235 million a year to finance development aid.

The tax would reach $47.25 on first- and business-class tickets for flights outside Europe, government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope said at a briefing in Paris yesterday after the weekly cabinet meeting. It would total $11.81 per ticket for flights in Europe. For economy-class tickets, the levy would be $4.73 outside Europe and $1.18 within Europe.

The tax, first outlined by Chirac in January, "is an effort of international solidarity to which French people attach much importance," Chirac said, according to Cope.

Chirac said in August that Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Germany and Spain support the levy. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said Sept. 9 that Britain will also tax air travel, though no date has been set. The United States opposes the charge.

Air France-KLM chief executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta told reporters yesterday that he had "reservations and reticence" over the plan and had lobbied against it.

The initiative forms part of efforts by European governments to raise development aid to 0.7 percent of their national income. A contribution of $5.90 on all plane tickets and an additional $23.63 supplement for business- and first-class passengers would help raise $10.18 billion a year in the European Union, according to a French government estimate.