easyjet has vowed to fight plans to double taxes imposed on passengers. It is understood that Chancellor Gordon Brown is considering to move the stem growth in air travel, doubling the rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD) from GBP5 to GBP10 for short-haul economy-class flights.easyjet claim that it is widely recognised that APD is a blunt tool which unfairly discriminates against passengers on low-cost airlines. easyJet’s average fare for the six months to the end of March was GBP42: APD at the current rate of GBP5 is too much, GBP10 would be an outrage. Fat cats paying GBP500 to travel on BA may not have a problem with this, but it disproportionately targets those paying the lowest fares.
If the Chancellor really wants to make a difference, he should make APD fair to all travellers by making it a proportion of the fare paid, rather than a flat rate. Almost all other taxes are proportionate, why not APD?
easyJet state that they whole-heartedly support the principle that the aviation industry should cover its environmental costs, but any suggestion that APD is an environmental tax is an insult to both the tax-payer and the travelling public. Paying tax to the government does nothing to mitigate the environmental impact of aviation as there is no suggestion that this tax would be ring-fenced for environmental issues - and would simply go into the coffers of the Exchequer to be spent on anything that takes the fancy of the Chancellor.
Nor does a flat-rate tax such as APD give the industry an incentive to improve its environmental credentials by taxing the noisier, more polluting aircraft at a higher rate and thus encouraging the industry to work towards the production of ever quieter, cleaner aircraft.