easyJet claims UK policy u-turn

6th Dec 2006

According to easyJet,  Gordon’s Brown’s decision to double Passenger Duty on environmental
grounds represents a complete U-turn of Government policy and a wholly
inconsistent approach to different types of transport.The low-fares airline has issued a statement in response to the UK Chancellor’s Pre-Budget Report. It reads:

In 2003, the Government stated that Air Passenger Duty was “not the
ideal measure for tackling the environmental impacts of aviation”*.
Today, Gordon Brown announced a substantial increase in APD citing
“environmental” reasons.

Gordon Brown recognises that not all cars pollute the same - given his
comments in advance of the PBR. But his APD proposals are flat-rate and
do not incentivise airlines to operate the cleanest aircraft. If he is
far-sighted when it comes to road vehicles, why is he myopic when it
comes to aircraft? His proposal for Air Passenger Duty bears none of the
hallmarks of an efficient environmental tax and all the hallmarks of a
Chancellor keen to raise stealth taxes.


easyJet flies brand new aircraft with high passenger densities and
direct flights, which makes it one of Europe’s most
environmentally-efficient airlines. It emits 30% fewer greenhouse gasses
per passenger kilometre than a traditional airline. Yet easyJet
passengers pay Air Passenger Duty at exactly the same rate as those
flying on the dirtiest airlines. Gordon Brown had the opportunity to put
right this anomaly - but he chose to ignore it.



Andy Harrison, easyJet Chief Executive, said:


“easyJet takes the issue of aviation and the environment very seriously
and we are already making huge efforts to ensure we are as
environmentally-efficient as is possible, but APD is the wrong tax for
the economy and the wrong tax for the environment. It penalises all
airlines and aircraft equally, when clearly some airlines are much more
environmentally efficient than others.


“Gordon Brown was right to recognise that it was time to look at APD,
but came up with completely the wrong answer. He has come up with a tax
that will do nothing for the environment while penalising the travelling
public even more - they are unlikely to forgive him.


“Aviation generates a vast amount of economic wealth, yet CO2 accounts
for only 1.6%** of Global Greenhouse gases. We believe that a much
better way to balance aviation’s social and economic benefits with its
contribution to climate change is to bring it into the European
Emissions Trading Scheme, which will put aviation on the same footing as
other carbon emitting industries and, most importantly, is an
international solution to an international problem. In recent months,
the Government has been a passionate advocate of the ETS but now appears
just to want to increase taxes.”


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