EasyJet Denounces Fuel Taxation

easyJet has today called on the Chancellor, Gordon Brown and his European counterparts to resist the impulse to introduce an EU aviation fuel tax.Following the G7 summit, some European countries pushed the idea to tax aviation fuel in order to shore up additional aid for poor countries. Other member states see aviation fuel as a means of tackling aviation emissions by reducing demand for travel. easyJet argues that EU politicians are using smokescreens as an excuse to beef up their coffers by levying an EU wide tax on kerosene.

easyJet remains to be persuaded that the debate surrounding a kerosene tax is not so much on whether aviation fuel should be taxed or not but to what end. easyJet would argue that the agenda being pushed is not motivated by genuine international or environmental concerns but rather the opportunity of introducing a pan-European tax. Instead, EU finance ministers should concentrate their efforts into introducing smarter taxes and especially revisit the already hefty blanket taxes levied on airlines, such as the UK’s Air Passenger Duty.

If the aim is truly to levy new forms of aid to poor countries, then surely a more profitable source of revenue should be the target of a EU wide tax. It is a well-known fact that the airline industry is not the golden pot at the end of the rainbow.

If the agenda is an environmental one, then emissions trading or real environmental charges that reduce aviation emissions along the line of the polluter pays principle are far more effective than a tax on airline fuel. easyJet certainly supports an EU emissions trading scheme for aviation and already operates one of the youngest and cleanest fleet in Europe.

EU finance ministers need to own up to the fact that the only reason this is actively being discussed at tomorrow’s meeting of EU finance ministers is to further narrow political ends without consideration of airlines or consumers’ interests.

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Ray Webster, easyJet Chief Executive said:

“What baffles me is the agenda being pursued at the political level. If the aim is truly to levy new forms of aid to poor countries, then surely a more profitable source of revenue should be the target of an EU wide tax. If the agenda is an environmental one, then emissions trading or real environmental charges along the line of the polluter pays principle are far more effective than a tax on airline fuel and easyJet is certainly prepared to meet its responsibilities on this front.

My concern is that the political discussions around airline fuel smack of taxation through the back door more than anything else.”
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